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Jaxon Caines, technology reporter, Hart Energy: I'm Jaxon Caines, and this is your Hart Energy LIVE Exclusive interview with Leen Weijers at the SPE 2023 Annual Technical Conference Exhibition. What is the basic state of completions from Liberty's perspective?
Leen Weijers, engineering vice president, Liberty Oilfield Services: Over the last decade, wells have been drilled and completed for about half the cost they were about a decade ago, and they produce about twice as much. So overall, that means a 75% reduction in the cost to bring a barrel of oil all the way to the surface, and that has made American Shale extremely competitive. It's all about technology and efficiency.
On the subsurface side, again, improving wells production at a lower cost that's ongoing with, for instance, our industry's focus on creating cluster, improving cluster efficiency, making sure that a fracture is growing from every cluster, and that we're actually making a very dense plumbing system within the rock to produce hydrocarbons. On the side of what we're doing at the surface itself, equipment wise and things like that, we're becoming cleaner, we're becoming less noisy, our carbon footprint for a typical horsepower hour is becoming lower by, for instance, switching to natural gas. So those are some of the big picture trends that our industry is going through at this time.
JC: What are some of the things that worry you about the industry?
LW: I think we as an industry have to stand up for, I think the good that we do in general in the world. And often that message is modeled by other groups. Maybe as an industry ourselves, we do not always do a great job I think in helping people understand what we bring to the world. It's important that I think we as an industry can show that, hey, here are some high-end problems in the world where our industry can make a difference.
JC: What can we expect to see from Liberty within the next year?
LW: We're working hard on improvements in technology, and there's two examples right now that are part of our digi fleet family, if you will. One is digiFrac. Both of these digi family technologies, they will bring 100% natural gas horsepower to a frac location. So instead of burning diesel that's more expensive and has a higher carbon footprint, we switch to our customer's natural gas through CNG tanks or gas processing that we bring to location through Liberty Power Innovations.
These two things help us become more efficient than cleaner. First digiFrac, that is a solution where we burn natural gas and gas recip engines. Now, one unique aspect of both of these gas recip engines that we're using for digiFrac and digiPrime, there's no higher thermal efficiency in any engines in the world that powers that. That's about 44%-45% thermal efficiency. That's second to none in our industry. So that means lower carbon footprint, again, less fuel, less natural gas even that needs to be burned to create power. And so digiFrac is one version of that solution where we have gensets that generate electric power and then that electric power is sent to an electric pump.
And then the secondary solution that actually the first units have been out on location for a few weeks now that we call digiPrime, that's that same natural gas recip engine, extremely high, again, thermal efficiency that drives directly into a transmission and then a normal power end as we are used to kind of a typical conventional solution for pumps. But also as a company, we've been growing and vertically integrating. Liberty has not only frac, but we have wireline, we have bringing propane solutions to the well site through Propex. We have our typical solutions where we bring natural gas to locations since we are more dependent on just the natural gas footprint that we bring to locations. So we decided to bring some of that on ourselves.
JC: And that has been your Hart Energy LIVE Exclusive interview with Liberty Energy. To find out more, go to hartenergy.com.
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