During recent years, unconventional shale development has seen an increasing focus toward ESG-friendly operations. North American service companies have responded to this shift by accelerating development of innovative technologies and systems that enable operational efficiency and improve ESG goals.

One such company is Houston-based Universal Pressure Pumping, which provides pressure pumping and reservoir enhancement services across Texas, Appalachia and the Midcontinent regions. Established in 1980, the company has developed several industry-first sustainable rig-based technologies including the dual-fuel system, noted Akshay Sagar, president of Universal Pressure Pumping.

Dual fuel, which means operating a diesel engine on a combination of both diesel fuel and natural gas simultaneously, reduces the amount of diesel fuel a fracturing spread uses by as much as 55%.

More recently, Universal launched the ECOverse sustainable solutions that Sagar explained consist of a number of different platforms that are focused on emissions reduction and the wider ‘E’ aspect of ESG.

“Primarily focused on emissions side, we have the ECOplus platform, which is our highest fuel substitution platform that allows us 85% substitution of diesel with natural gas,” he noted.

The ECOplus system is designed to maximize the displacement of diesel, especially for operators with field gas availability looking to reduce their diesel fuel dependence.

Additionally, in first-quarter 2022, Universal is set to commercialize ECOstart, which is an integrated and automated engine idle reduction system that continuously monitors the entire fleet to ensure all engines are ready for action and users can reduce the idle time by up to 70% , cutting both fuel costs and emissions.

“We look at ESG as something critical to our DNA,” Sagar said. “In addition to our sustainable offerings…we look at simple things like how many crew vans do we want? What is the best way to optimize logistics? We also have a new AI-driven platform that looks at the number of truck trips that are made to the well site because they are also a source of emissions.”

“As a fracking company,” he continued, “we don’t just look at reducing emissions, but also at water optimization and replacing standard chemicals with green chemistry.”

Jump to a topic:

  • Emissions-focused technologies (0:31)
  • ESG-friendly fracking operations (3:15)
  • Rethinking pressure pumping (5:30)
  • Operators and new technologies (8:10)