Calfrac modernizing North American pressure pumping fleet to displace diesel and reduce emissions

'The future looks bright for pressure pumping services as the demand for hydrocarbons continues to grow'

By Mario Toneguzzi
Photo courtesy Calfrac

This article profiles Enserva sponsor Calfrac Well Services Ltd. as part of the Canadian Energy Centre’s support of the Enserva 2023 Golf Classic.  

Since its inception in 1999, Calfrac Well Services Ltd. has become one of the world’s largest energy service companies, working in western Canada, the United States and Argentina. 

The Calgary-based company offers hydraulic fracturing, coiled tubing, cementing and other well stimulation services. Calfrac is one of the largest hydraulic fracturing companies in the world, with a combined fleet of 1.2 million horsepower. 

A modernization of the company’s North American fleet is underway including the conversion of 50 pumping units to dual-fuel capable dynamic gas blending engines. These displace diesel in fracturing operations by increasing the use of natural gas and represent one of the cleanest pressure pumping options currently available in the market. 

CEO Pat Powell says health, safety and environmental protection are at the forefront of its operations. 

“Calfrac’s small-business style culture promotes teamwork, honesty, resilience, and a commitment to our brand promise to Do it Safely, Do it Right, and Do it Profitably,” he says. 

“The future looks bright for pressure pumping services as the demand for hydrocarbons continues to grow as the world moves forward with its choice of energy.” 

With an expanded geographic network and an operating fleet sized correctly to service the markets where it operates, Calfrac’s goal is to safely and efficiently provide the highest degree of expertise, innovation and service to its customers. 

The company says the pressure pumping market in North America has transitioned from undersupplied to relatively balanced as oil and gas producers have taken a cautious approach toward their capital deployment in response to commodity price uncertainty.  

But despite the recent slowdown, Calfrac maintains that the oilfield services industry remains in a long-duration upcycle to assist producers in meeting the growing demand for oil and gas. 

Since its beginning, Calfrac has grown organically and through opportunistic and strategic acquisitions. Geographic expansion has been selective and includes entry into both conventional and unconventional oil and gas markets. Over the years, Calfrac expanded operations from its base in Canada to include the United States and Argentina.  

The completion of unconventional reservoirs, including unconventional oil and gas shales, siltstones, mudstones and other traditionally bypassed reservoirs is technically and operationally challenging and characterized by increasing numbers of horizontal wells, multi-stage fracture treatments and elevated pumping pressure demands. 

Calfrac has experience working in a variety of geographic environments ranging from the arctic tundra to mountainous and foothills regions to semi-desert and dry tropical regions. Job sites have ranged from remote locations, accessible by ice roads only, to rural areas where regulations pertaining to road restrictions and noise are in place. 

Calfrac believes in being an integral part of the communities where it operates and it supports a variety of giving activities throughout the year. Its support falls under two main areas: volunteering or donation. Whenever possible, the initiatives and organizations it undertakes to promote and support fall into the following categories: Environment, Education, Aboriginal, Social Services, Arts & Culture and Community Sport.