In Danfoss

New Pump, Old Friends, Revolutionary Change.

Innovative well stimulation equipment in the oil & gas industry is first in North America to use Danfoss D1P pump.

It’s no secret that oil drilling and exploration has been heating up over the past 9 months. As the price of crude has slowly inched up from around $55 per barrel in November of last year to $75 per barrel this past week, the oilfield is going back to work. This story is about an industry of people with enough grit to survive the last bust, a lot of loyalty to the suppliers who have always had their back, and plenty of intelligence to see opportunities for change. 

How we got here…

Rewind back to 2005, the shale boom started with a way to do things differently – hydraulic fracturing had never been done and it drastically changed the landscape of opportunity for drilling in the US.  Fast forward to the end of 2015 – due to a global oversupply of oil, prices plummeted leaving many fracking opportunities unprofitable, massive job cuts across the industry and companies halting to scrutinize a factor that had been overlooked in the frenzy of revenue and securing drilling rights – cost.

In 2017, prices finally started to come back, and companies could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Cautiously optimistic, investment has started, but this time emphasizing not just on shale plays, but how to improve their efficiency and safety.  This led to two gentlemen with a wealth of knowledge and valuable connections in the industry to start a company focused on improving the well services industry.  The first product they tackled was designed with very concrete, “quick win” cost savings in mind for operators as well as safety improvement for field workers.

The Opportunity

Traditionally, every well stimulation site requires dozens of tractor trailers coupled with fracturing pumps to supply power. The founders saw opportunity to eliminate these tractor trailers with one bigger, more powerful skid that could not only power multiple frac pumps, but also provide ancillary power for lighting, hydraulic and electric tools. The skid needed to be remotely operated to decrease the number of employees in the “red zone” or high risk areas within close proximity to the high pressure pumps.

CAPEX is reduced with less investment into new trailers and operators save OPEX by eliminating costs associated with maintenance of fleet tractors and portable generators. The founders knew what power requirements they needed for a well-site and the space constraints to make this new unit feasible for transportation, and then set about the process of designing the actual unit.

Trusted Friends

In an industry where reliability is critical, trusted suppliers play a significant role to design, deliver and support systems in the field. This new company turned to Hydraquip, a value-added Danfoss distributor and trusted supplier throughout the years to start work on the fluid power system.

“I’ve been working with Hydraquip and Danfoss for the past 20 years – that’s why we came to Hydraquip in the first place,” the customer stated. “I’m the type of guy that if I tell you it’s going to be done, it’s going to be done given hell or high water, and Hydraquip has been able to maintain a customer focus throughout the years.”

Hydraquip is part of a group of fluid power focused companies, Employee Owned Holdings, Inc. (EOHI). As part of EOHI, Hydraquip’s sister company Elite Controls, Inc., a Danfoss PLUS+1 integrator, designed the control system, and Supreme Integrated Technology, specializing in moveable structures, provided  the structural design and finished assembly for the unit.

“The project became a game of tetris as we started to design a system that would fit the performance and size requirements,” said Eric Martin, Account Executive at Hydraquip, Inc. “I was able to get Danfoss involved early-on in the project, and their team of experts stepped-up to figure out the D1P was the perfect solution for this application.”

While this was the first time the D1P pump was used in the US, it has been installed in projects throughout Europe and Asia for the past several years so all parties felt confident in its reliability. Danfoss wen above and beyond to give advanced access to the pump, could provide at lower lead times and a more reasonable cost than any other solution in the marketplace.

“Our relationship with Danfoss for the past 20 years made us confident in their ability to support the design, build and commissioning process,” says Scott Nelson, SVP of Hydraquip, Inc. Danfoss sent their application engineer, Alex Bruns and product application engineer, Paul Chai in to meet with the Hydraquip team in Houston where the unit was fabricated. Their continued support to ensure inventory will be readily available for orders of additional new units and any repairs in the field.

Revolutionary Change

With the introduction of this technology and first few units running, interest has piqued from several large exploration and drilling companies who have come to view the unit running at the Hydraquip facility in Houston, TX. Operators can easily see how the unit will save them in fuel costs, maintenance costs and CAPEX over a short period of time.

As a group of companies, Employee Owned Holdings, Inc., views this as an excellent example of their ability create a complete packaged system for the customer with not only hydraulic components, but the structural and control capabilities.  The customer can go to one person for any questions during the design and fabrication process, setting apart Hydraquip in their ability to build long lasting relationships with customers and new opportunities for Danfoss products.

“We’ve seen a demand from customers to not only deliver quality Danfoss products, but be their fluid power expertise, and the additional companies we’ve added to the EOHI portfolio allow us to deliver highly engineered solutions in an industry that is constantly looking for ways to improve technology,” says Richard Neels, President & CEO of EOHI.

At the heart of this change, and on drilling sites throughout North America, the Danfoss D1P pump will remain an integral part of this solution. Brought into a brand-new application and new market by a bond of trusted customer/supplier relationships, the story of its future in North America is just beginning.