As the job intensity increases, in the form of flow rate and pressure, there is a continuous need for increased amount of horsepower for hydraulic fracturing operations. Nevertheless, increasing the number of units at the wellsite to achieve this demand in horsepower is an impractical solution when attempting to reduce carbon footprint. Instead, increasing the power density, energy transfer efficiency, and reducing the amount of parasitic loss offers a superior solution with the introduction of the first natural gas-powered 5,000 HP direct-drive turbine fracturing pumps in North America.

A methodology was developed to select this direct-drive turbine technology as the next-generation hydraulic fracturing equipment. The direct-drive pumping unit is equipped with a 5,000 hp continuous duty power end driven by a 5,000 hp dual shaft turbine through a single speed reduction gearbox. This combination provides the most efficient mechanical power transfer efficiency resulting in significant fuel cost savings and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In conjunction, a new digital control system has been developed and deployed to enable operational automated functionalities for the pumping unit and backside equipment. This innovative control system provides open interoperable controls, and data analytics for the purpose of eliminating uninformed decisions from pump operators as well as predicting and preventing equipment failures.

The objective of this paper is to provide technical details on how digitization enables operational efficiency, equipment reliability, and emission reduction for the direct drive turbine technology.

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