Halliburton switches to grid electricity for Permian frac jobs

Michael Tobin and David Wethe January 14, 2021

HOUSTON (Bloomberg) --Halliburton Co. is swapping diesel-powered engines for grid-supplied electricity in the Permian Basin, the latest example of how the U.S. shale industry is looking for ways to reduce emissions amid heightened scrutiny from investors.

The world’s biggest fracking services provider has deployed the industry’s first grid-powered fracking operation on behalf of Cimarex Energy Co., according to a statement on Thursday. To date, it’s completed almost 340 stages across multiple wells.

“Electric fracturing aligns with our goal to provide the industry with lower-carbon intensive solutions and our commitment to a sustainable energy future,” said Michael Segura, Halliburton’s vice president of product enhancement.

Fracking, which involves blasting water, sand and chemicals underground to release trapped hydrocarbons, has long been carried out using pumps powered by diesel engines. Over the past few years, service providers have slowly started to test out new frack gear using electric motors that are powered by natural gas.

The next step involves plugging frack fleets directly into the grid rather than using gas-powered turbines. This could face challenges in the future as activity ramps back up and threatens to stress the grid.

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