Record-Breaking 19K New Wells to be Fracked in 2012

Hydraulic fracturing, the process used to break apart shale rock deep below the earth’s surface to allow natural gas and oil to flow, will increase in 2012 some 19 percent from last year according to Spears & Associates, a research and consulting company for the worldwide petroleum industry. Almost 19,000 new wells will be fracked in 2012, compared with 16,000 in 2011. Halliburton is the largest U.S. fracking services provider with 18 percent of the market.

The worldwide market for hydraulic fracturing is expected to expand 19 percent this year to a record $37 billion, one-third the pace of expansion in 2011, said Spears & Associates Inc.

In North America, which accounted for 87 percent of the fracking market last year, spending on the technique used to extract oil and natural gas from shale will top $30 billion in 2012…

The global fracking market grew by 63 percent in 2011 to $31 billion, Spears said.

“Fracturing has grown at a rate much faster than drilling because frack intensity — the number of stages fracked per new well — is rising,” Spears said in the slides prepared for a joint conference call scheduled for today with analysts from Credit Suisse Holdings USA Inc.

In the U.S., horizontal drilling, the precursor to most fracking activity, is expected to rise to almost 19,000 new wells this year, breaking 2011’s record of 16,000, according to Spears.

Four companies — Halliburton Co., Schlumberger Ltd., Baker Hughes Inc.’s BJ Services unit and Frac Tech Services LLC — provided more than half the North American fracking services last year, Spears said. Halliburton was at the top of the group with 18 percent of the horsepower, followed by Schlumberger with 13 percent, BJ Services with 12 percent and Frac Tech with 11 percent.*

*Bloomberg Businessweek (Jan 20, 2012) – Fracking Market to Grow 19% to $37 Billion Worldwide in 2012