Pressure to cut costs drives energy producers to drill for answers

Energy production is an expensive pursuit, but companies' costs are under growing scrutiny. Energy producers discussed their concerns Tuesday at the Oklahoma State University Energy Conference in Oklahoma City.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: April 24, 2013

As dense oil and natural gas drilling continues to expand throughout the country, the industry is facing increased pressure to reduce costs.

Shareholders demand it. Exploration and production companies need it to fund more drilling. Contractors must have it to remain competitive.

“This is a very costly business,” said Marc Edwards, senior vice president of completion and production at Halliburton. “It's a complicated business. The benefits of streamlining the process gives us a big opportunity to reduce costs.”

Competitive edge

Edwards spoke Tuesday at the Oklahoma State University Energy Conference in Oklahoma City.

The largest hydraulic fracturing company in the world, Halliburton pumps 18 billion pounds of sand every year.

“Halliburton is the biggest logistics company in the U.S., but it's not a logistics company,” Edwards said. “Halliburton is the biggest rail company in the U.S., but it's not a rail company.”

Halliburton and other contractors throughout the country are constantly looking to reduce costs to remain competitive. To help with that, Edward's department is working on what he calls the “frack of the future.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a critical step in extracting oil and natural gas from shale and other dense rock.

The process also is one of the most expensive parts of a well, requiring hundreds of truckloads of water, sand and other materials to be delivered to each well site.

“We've come up with a new fracking truck that allows us to use 20 to 25 percent fewer truckloads,” Edwards said.

The new trucks also stand vertically at the well site, allowing them to take up less space and use gravity to reduce the need for electricity and pumping.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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There's a finite resource in the ground. Your cost is where you can gain a competitive advantage and drive returns.”

David Lawler,
Chief operating officer at

SandRidge Energy Corp.

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