Profiting from Fracking Technology Innovations

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted July 16, 2013

Green Field Energy is not a household name in the fracking community, but the Louisiana-based company seems to be just fine with that.

Senior Vice President Gary Prehoda is humble in saying that his company has no intention of expanding nationally, but its new turbine hydraulic fracturing pumps (TFPs) are turning heads in some of the hottest energy hubs around the country, including the Eagle Ford of South Texas, the Permian basin of West Texas, and the Marcellus Shale on the East Coast.

fracking rigGreen Field and its partners are using decommissioned military helicopter engines in developing highly efficient fracking technology. Green Field’s joint ventures with Marine Turbine Technology and Turbine Powered Technology made it possible to get access to military engines. Using military engines is an interesting premise, but Green Field is hoping to scale back on the use of military engines in the future.

TFPs are 30 percent lighter than competing engines and are more manageable in tighter areas. They have a split-shaft turbine engine that increases the pump rate. Diesel-based engines rely on gear reduction to alleviate pressure and provide enough power to the equipment, but the trade-off is a drastic slowdown in pump rate, resulting in slower performance.

Using TFPs reduces emissions by 87 percent, and they will make fracking operations more economically feasible, since just one fracking operation can currently amount to millions of dollars.

TFPs will not completely win over environmental groups and residents angry over fracking, but these types of engines can become a mainstream asset as the EPA imposes tighter regulations.

TFPs are clean-burning, cheaper, and have already exceeded environmental standards for the EPA’s oncoming Tier IV standards, expected to be fully in place by 2015, The Advertiser reports.

Since 2011, the company went from 75 employees to over 500 around the country. The company has its origins in Lafayette, Louisiana, but offices are sprawled all throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Aside from hydraulic fracturing services, Green Field also conducts cementing, gas delivery, and coiled tubing/nitrogen services.

Green Field originally began as Hub City Industries, founded in 1969, specializing in general pumping services. But John Egle purchased HCI in 1997 and invested in Turbine Stimulation Technologies along with other investors. HCI was purchased again in 2011 and was renamed Green Field.

TFP Usage

TFPs can run on multiple natural gas resources: compressed, liquefied, and field. The engines can also run on diesel fuel in the event of a natural gas shortage on the field. One turbine engine has operational power of 10,000 hours.

The great thing about these engines is they are practical, since they rely on traditional fuel sources like natural gas, but the technology can also become a pioneer in making fracking pumps more reliable and energy efficient.

Other companies have similar types of engine technology, but most of the focus has been on gasoline/diesel hybrid engines. Natural gas has not been part of the equation, which is a missed opportunity considering the depreciation of natural gas prices due to oversupply. Very few fuel engines on the market can run on diesel and natural gas in congruence.

Currently, Green Field’s TFPs are the only engines that can run 100% on natural gas.

Dual engines are being seen in diverse fields and markets around the world, with the rise of hybrid vehicles in the American market, and places like India, where diesel/compressed natural gas engines are common in civilian vehicles around the country.

TFPs would have a valued place in energy hot spots like the Bakken of North Dakota, where natural gas is needlessly burnt off due to an insufficient amount of pipelines needed to capture and transport the gas. This would also reduce pollution from associated gas, and it will help companies save on operating expenses.

Green Field Deals

In 2012, Green Field signed a long-term deal with Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A) for fracking operations in the United States. As part of the deal, Shell has called on Green Field to provide a two-frack spread, with the option of additional spreads in the future.

Other major Green Field clients are Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK).

The company has also expanded into Pennsylvania, leasing a facility in which over 200 fracking jobs will be fostered for Marcellus Shale activity.

The company is also looking to reach Oklahoma, where Cushing operations could benefit a great deal from Green Field services.

The company has not gone public, but with operations so prevalent across the country, it will only be a matter of time as TFP usage becomes more pronounced in the coming years.


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