Electric Frac or “E-Frac” is a very hot topic amongst oil and gas investors, E&P companies and the fracturing service companies. The reasons most often cited for the excitement around the topic are the technology lowers emissions because it can be fueled 100% by clean and inexpensive natural gas and it lowers operating costs through the use of turbines, electric motors and variable frequency drives which all have dramatically improved mean life to overhaul compared with the conventional diesel/transmission powered alternatives.
The electric revolution, because of its ability to run on 100% clean and inexpensive natural gas, is another example of EnQuest delivering Eco-Solutions to the oil and gas industry.
The electrification of fracturing equipment requires a few key pieces of equipment be changed. Below is a comparison.
|Conventional Fleet||Electric Fleet|
|Diesel engine||Electric motor|
|Automatic Transmission||Not required|
|Cooling system||Not required|
|Reciprocating pump (triplex or quintuplex)||Reciprocating pump (triplex or quintuplex)|
|Carrier (commonly a trailer)||Carrier (commonly a trailer)|
|Variable frequency drive|
|Power source (gas turbine generator)|
E-Frac provides additional benefits to conventional because power density in electric motor options can provide 2x or more the horsepower per trailer compared to conventional units reducing the footprint of a frac fleet. By reducing the footprint, the number of employees required to perform a typical fracturing treatment is also reduced.
The primary negative of E-Frac often cited is the investment cost. Investment or capital cost of a typical E-Frac fleet is estimated to be 20-50% more expensive than a conventional fleet according to research by Tudor, Pickering and Holt.