In today's hydraulic fracturing operations there is an increasing demand for more rate and pressure resulting in more energy intense operations. Therefore, there is a need for more horsepower (HP) to be available on site. In order to support this, along with the industry's transition into a sustainable and low carbon footprint initiative, companies have devoted great efforts in research and development into developing the next generation hydraulic fracturing equipment. As a result, the first natural gas powered 5,000 HP direct drive turbine fracturing pumper has recently been introduced in North America. The objective of this paper is to provide technical insights on how the direct drive gas turbine technology brings a high-power density and efficient energy transfer solution to deliver operational, economic, and environmental benefits.

The industry had limited success in utilization of the direct drive gas turbine technology in the past. The main obstacles were unreliable and inefficient turbine to pump power transfer mechanism, low power density, and lack of an integrated engineering approach. The advancements in gas turbines and speed reduction technology, coupled with an in-depth application of equipment design knowledge allowed the company to successfully develop the next generation of hydraulic fracturing technology. The technology is a power train consisting of a 5,000 HP gas turbine engine (5,336 HP actual), a robust single stage reduction gearbox, and a 5,000 HP continuous duty pump.

The direct drive turbine technology brings one of the highest power densities and efficient mechanical power transfer designs on the market today. The technology utilizes a split shaft gas turbine to allow for a power gapless powertrain, linear output rpm, and low speed high torque capabilities. A wide variety of fuels can be used including compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), field gas, and liquid fuel (e.g., diesel). Based on certified third-party emissions data, the direct drive technology is shown to have one of the lowest greenhouse gases (GHG) and Environmental Protection Agnecy (EPA) regulated emissions profiles. At the time of this writing, the first direct drive turbine frac fleet has been deployed in the Haynesville for 2 years and more recently introduced in Canada (Montney and Duvernay).

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