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Pressure Pumpers Add 3.3 Million HP in 2017, Led by Halliburton

Halliburton Co., the largest pressure pumper in North America, last year built its estimable capacity and surpassed 4 million hp by adding roughly 700,000 hp to its fracturing toolbag, Rystad Energy said.

The pressure pumping market as a whole added 3.3 million hp during 2017, according to the analyst. Houston-based Halliburton’s fleet now is estimated to be 1.6 million hp larger than its closest rival, Schlumberger Ltd.

“The ramp-up beyond the 4 million hp threshold will likely come as a surprise to most of the market, as many analysts are currently reporting a fleet of around 3 million hp,” Rystad said of Halliburton’s capacity.

“Halliburton is one of the few service companies that makes their own pumps so it is tougher to keep track of their active horsepower,” said Rystad’s Ryan Carbrey, senior vice president of shale research in Houston. “We have been able to determine their active horsepower through our primary intelligence channels, including North American on-the-ground networks in each basin, and data analysis.

“Halliburton’s increase shows their continued commitment to maintain and grow market share.”

The pressure pumping market this year is expected to add another 3.3 million hp.

“This comprises 1.3 million more in newbuilds and 2 million via refurbishments of nonworking equipment, providing much needed relief to the tightening pressure pumping market,” according to Rystad.

Among other major oilfield service providers, Schlumberger is adding 1 million hp by refurbishing the Weatherford International plc fleet that it gained in its $430 million purchase of U.S. pressure pumping and pump-down perforating assets.

BJ Services Co., formerly was under the Baker Hughes Inc. umbrella, is projected to finish refurbishing 2.2 million hp by 3Q2018, “although this fleet is unlikely to run at full efficiency due to the urgent need to train new crews,” Rystad noted.

Cisco, TX-based ProFrac Services, whose services are concentrated in the Permian Basin, has purchased more than 500,000 hp worth of engines and transmissions that it expects to convert into fracture capacity by the end of 2018, Rystad noted.

“Equipment manufacturers are at full capacity right now, and some pumpers have had to delay deployment of planned additions,” said Rystad’s Alex Yang, senior analyst of shale research. “Much of the newly built equipment is earmarked for refurbishment programs rather than totally new spreads.”

Rystad expects pressure pumping spot prices to increase 10-25% through the second quarter, as utilization rates approach the 80-85% threshold.

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