We are committed to a clean and healthy environment. It is our goal to minimize our environmental impact in the communities in which we work and live, while providing services for our customers in a safe and responsible manner. We are pursuing initiatives to make improvements in air quality, water quality, land usage, use of energy and reducing waste materials.

Environmental Sustainability

Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We are committed to reducing emissions in all facets of our operations and utilizing innovative fuel product solutions whenever possible. For many years, we have focused on the deployment of engine air emission technology in the oilfield. We have been a leader in the use of Natural Gas Engines, Bi-fuel Equipment, and various emission reduction systems, including Selective Catalytic Reduction technology.

Our culture is to cause all of our employees to operate in a manner that is safe and protective of the environment. Industrial hygiene and environmental protection specialists monitor our performance and use industry best practices to continually implement improvements that increase our sustainability and reduce our environmental impact.

We utilize equipment that runs on a variety of fuels to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact. When possible, our contract drilling operations routinely use natural gas-only engines and bi-fuel engines, and our pressure pumping operations employ bi-fuel engines.

Bi-Fuel Engines

With bi-fuel engines, we can offer pressure pumping and contract drilling services with a fuel mixture of up to 70 percent natural gas. Natural gas as fuel is significantly cleaner from an environmental perspective as it generates less carbon monoxide than diesel fuel, as well as less nitrogen oxide (NOx). Utilizing high percentages of natural gas instead of diesel enables our engines to burn cleaner, reduce emissions and improve air quality. Within our pressure pumping business, five of our spreads are currently bi-fuel capable. Our contract drilling business maintains approximately 60 dual fuel rig power systems. Our bi-fuel engines’ operational successes have been recognized in an article in E&P Magazine, an industry publication.

Natural Gas Engines

Our natural gas engines, which do not require the use of diesel fuel, allow our drilling rigs to run 100 percent on natural gas. These systems can utilize the local natural gas infrastructure already available in our working areas, reducing the need for diesel fuel transportation and consumption. Additionally, these dedicated natural gas engines are equipped with a three-way catalyst to significantly reduce NOx emissions. Our contract drilling business has over 10 dedicated natural gas rig power systems.

Other Emission Reduction Efforts

Our drilling rig fleet can be equipped with additional emissions control technologies to meet specific emissions requirements necessary to operate in certain locations. For example, our rigs can be equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction technology, which is an advanced emissions control technology that injects a liquid reductant agent through a special catalyst into the exhaust stream of a diesel engine. Selective Catalytic Reduction technology is a means of converting NOx into nitrogen and water, ultimately reducing NOx emissions.

Additionally, when operating in sensitive areas, where possible, we have occasionally used power from local electric utility grids in place of hydrocarbon fuels to eliminate engine emissions and noise.

Air Emissions Reduction Efforts by Type

Sulfur Oxides (SOx) Our contract drilling business mandates the use of strictly Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) fuel.
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Third-party field tests on dedicated natural gas drilling rigs have shown emissions of NOx as low as 0.01 g/hp-hr.
Particulates (dust) Our pressure pumping business actively works with its service partners to develop, test and implement new strategies to reduce dust emissions on location. We currently operate with a combination of active (ventilation systems) and passive (tenting and choked flow) technologies that significantly reduce dust concentrations. We routinely monitor all technologies in use to measure the amount of reduction attained and continually work to reduce emissions and exposures.

GHG Emissions Reduction Efforts by Type

Tier 4 Spreads: Tier 4 engines reduce harmful exhaust gases from diesel powered equipment. Our Tier 4 engines are compliant with Tier 4 emissions standards, and the use of these engines results in significant reductions in emissions relative to previous-generation engines. We design our drilling and pressure pumping fleets to be 100 percent compliant with all current EPA air emissions requirements. Additionally, we are sensitive to and supportive of customer targets and goals. Our pressure pumping business routinely utilizes dual fuel and Tier 4 compliant spreads, which help meet our customers’ GHG emission goals. Our pressure pumping business has two Tier 4 fleets and more than 70 Tier 4 tractors.
Control Systems: We manufacture and sell control systems for electric pressure pumping fleets, which reduce emissions from production operations.
Paint booth emissions: To further reduce emissions, our pressure pumping business standardized the paint used on its equipment and now applies high solids paint with lower VOC emissions.

Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL) Initiative

We proudly participate in public-private projects to find innovative solutions to lower impact extraction methods. Patterson-UTI was contracted to drill a well as part of a collaboration between West Virginia University, Ohio State University, the Department of Energy and others. The goal of this initiative is to provide a long-term field site to develop and validate new knowledge and technology, improve recovery efficiency and minimize environmental implications of unconventional resource development.

Water Quality

We work with our customers to ensure industry best practices when performing our operations. We strive to conduct our drilling and completion activities in a manner that protects the quality of ground and surface water.

We require all employees to operate in a manner that is safe and protective of the environment. Our operations are monitored by Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) professionals with specialties in safety, industrial hygiene and environmental protection who utilize industry best practices to continually reduce our environmental impact.

Wash Bay Recycling and Discharges

In our pressure pumping business, to reduce consumption and impact to the environment, we installed recycling systems on our wash bays in two districts.

In our pressure pumping business, we and our customers use additional spill containment and matting to prevent or mitigate releases in areas where there is a greater potential for stakeholder impact due to environmental releases. In our contract drilling business, at all new well locations, we created and utilize a rig site environmental checklist to identify any potential exposure to waterways, and we inspect the containment and best management practices in place to protect these waterways.

Maximizing Recycled Water Use

Our pressure pumping business utilizes laboratory equipment to analyze the characteristics of recycled water. In particular, our labs test different friction reducers to maximize recycled water usage. We then formulate a solution that is designed to optimize friction reducer performance, so as to minimize the use of fresh water.

Land Use

At Patterson-UTI, we work hand in hand with our customers to minimize environmental impacts. We have processes, long-term initiatives and fluid containment policies in place to minimize our footprint when setting up drilling and pressure pumping equipment at well sites.

Throughout our organization, we have a shared responsibility to operate in a manner that is safe and protective of the environment. Through monitoring and the use of industry best practices, we continually implement improvements that increase our sustainability and reduce our environmental impact. We regularly audit and review our HSE performance in all of our businesses.

Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure

Our contract drilling business has created Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans and adopted industry best practices to prevent and mitigate releases even if not required by law. We require SPCC plans to be in place at every drilling location. These plans are designed to prevent spills from reaching any navigable waters and to inform employees of the proper way to handle oil-based materials, inspect for leaks, respond appropriately to incidents and report spills.

Our drilling crews routinely conduct spill drills on location according to an established drill calendar. These drills include a spill scenario, where crews simulate control and response of the spill as well as procedures for notification of management.

Nearly all of our pressure pumping business’s spreads use a fueling system that provides fuel directly from a fuel storage cell to the pump trucks to minimize on-site manual fueling activity and reduce spills. We utilize containment to minimize incidental release impacts to the environment.

Spill Reporting and Response

Our contract drilling business designs its spill containment policies to meet or exceed all state requirements relating to spill containment in the states in which we operate. Reporting on spills and investigating each incident gives our organization a better understanding of why a spill may have occurred and how to reduce the risk of a similar incident occurring in the future.

We recognize the importance of safely and efficiently transferring fluids at our jobsites. We set guidelines for the responsible transfer and handling of hydrocarbons, including controlled fluid transfer policies. In our contract drilling business, the inspection and audit process at our jobsites includes an environmental assessment for any non-conformities as outlined in our Environmental Management System. Any spill, regardless of size or quantity, is required to be reported internally and investigated. In our pressure pumping business, we adhere to an incident management program that requires all releases from primary containment to be reported. All locations have spill kits and employees trained to respond to spills. We routinely inspect spill kits and perform drills to ensure prompt and efficient responses.

Spotlight on Training

Course Name 2018 Attendance YTD 2019 Attendance
Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) >7,700 >4,300

Efficient Use of Energy

We strive to maximize fuel efficiency and have increased fuel efficiency through the upgrade of our drilling rig fleet. Our super-spec APEX® rig design uses AC power control systems to significantly improve energy efficiency compared to previous generations of drilling rigs. This increased efficiency results in a decrease in our operations’ use of diesel and natural gas fuels.

In 2018, our pressure pumping business completed 3,358 stages with dual fuel engines, resulting in total savings of 2,090,762 gallons of diesel fuel. Please see “Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions” for more detail on our dual fuel engines.

Estimated Diesel Fuel Reduction from Use of Dual-Fuel Engines (in gallons)

Year Stages Gallons of Diesel Fuel Saved
2018 3358 2,090,762
2017 3179 2,296,770
2016 1,129 1,099,833
2013-2015 2324 1,549,465
Total 9,990 7,036,830

Fuel Consumption and Vehicle Idle Time

In our pressure pumping business, we monitor the idling times of a variety of vehicles to reduce emissions and fuel usage. Approximately 800 vehicles are currently monitored in this program.

EcoCell™ Energy Storage System

Our contract drilling business is developing EcoCell™, an energy storage system for drilling rigs that is used to manage power generation and demand to achieve improved fuel economy and emissions levels. Emissions levels for power generation equipment on drilling rigs can vary widely depending on how they are operated. EcoCell™ is designed to keep equipment running in the most efficient range where it produces the lowest emissions. When supply does not match demand, EcoCell™ will charge or discharge from its battery to maintain constant power generation levels. Additional generation equipment is automatically shut down when the battery approaches a full charge and is automatically started up when the battery charge is depleted. EcoCell™ is currently in place at one of our drilling rigs, and we expect to increase deployment of this technology based on customer demand.

Load-Dependent Starting and Stopping

Our contract drilling business is also developing rig control systems with Load-Dependent Starting and Stopping, a feature that allows for automatic shut-down of engines when they have been running at low load levels for extended periods of time. This feature reduces the amount of time that our engines run at inefficient power levels, thus reducing unnecessary emissions.

Facility Energy Efficiency

We seek to employ energy efficient technologies throughout our facilities. Some examples include:

  • Installing LED lighting on all new and refurbished drilling rigs.
  • Converting one of our manufacturing facilities from diesel generators to utility power. As a result, this facility now emits zero emissions from power generation on site.


Our facilities and operations use a variety of initiatives to minimize waste materials, such as recycling of paper materials or sending metal-based materials for reprocessing and re-use. In this effort, we reduce physical waste and improve the quality of the environment in which we work. In our policies, we clearly and concisely outline waste identification and disposal methods.

Waste Management Policies

Under our policies for non-hazardous, hazardous and universal waste generated at jobsites, waste streams are handled, labeled, managed, accumulated, inspected and disposed of in accordance with applicable state and federal regulations, as well as best management practices. Our waste management policies also include procedures for handling new and/or unknown waste streams according to state and federal regulations.

Waste Minimization Strategies

We promote waste minimization strategies including recycle and re-use, maintaining the condition of materials, equipment and storage containers, as well as inventory management. Additionally, we adhere to a scheduled maintenance program that is tailored to each type of equipment to reduce unnecessary waste and increase the overall life cycle of our equipment.

Our manufacturing operations use certified waste disposal services for disposal of manufacturing by-products. Our contract drilling business approves and verifies vendors for the storage, transport, and disposal of used lubricants at relevant locations and require these vendors to comply with all relevant lubricant disposal regulations. Additionally, we continue to increase the use of electronic management systems and documentation, which reduces waste relative to paper-based systems.

Additionally, our pressure pumping business maintains a process for products management designed to minimize waste generation. Products that are not used are first re-marketed. If we are unable to find a buyer for the product, we attempt to find a recycling provider. If no buyer or recycler is found, the material is properly disposed of according to applicable regulations. Our pressure pumping business uses waste brokers to find appropriate recycling and disposal methods for materials identified.

Environmental Management

We are committed to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. It is our goal to minimize our environmental impact in the communities in which we work and live, while servicing our customers in a safe and responsible manner.

To do so, our contract drilling business has created a comprehensive Environmental Management System (EMS) including:

  • Rig Site Environmental Checklist
  • Scheduled training and drills
  • Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans
  • Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP)
  • Proper containment guidelines
  • Incident reporting guidelines
  • Fluid Transfer Policies and Checklists
  • Spill Response
  • Hazard Communication (HAZCOM)
  • Waste Management