Weir Sees International Fracking Market Doubling in Three Years

Weir Group Plc., the world’s largest provider of hydraulic fracturing equipment in the oil industry, expects the international market for the pressure-pumping gear to roughly double over the next three years.

The amount of equipment used to shoot jets of water and sand underground to blast open oil- and natural-gas-bearing rock should grow to about 2 million horsepower in places outside the U.S. and Canada, up from about 1 million horsepower today, Chief Executive Officer Keith Cochrane said yesterday in an interview at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

The Glasgow, Scotland-based company said it expects to sell at least about 10 percent to 15 percent of its fracking horsepower for applications outside North America over the next three to four years.

“I think momentum is gradually building,” Cochrane said. “Is it going to happen? Absolutely. It’s a good place to be.”

The North American market, which is made up of the U.S. and Canada, is the world’s largest for fracking with about 18 million horsepower this year, according to slides released in January by Spears & Associates Inc., a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based industry consultant.

The major areas of international fracking growth are in China, Argentina and Australia, Steve Noon, managing director of Weir’s oil and gas division also said in the interview.

Weir, which is also the world’s largest provider of pumps to the mining industry, generated 38 percent of total sales last year from its Fort Worth, Texas-based oil & gas unit, which mostly makes fracking gear.

Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest users of fracking equipment, said in earnings calls last month they’re holding off in adding more equipment in North America, where the demand for fracking work now roughly equals supply. Schlumberger said April 20 it will shift money or equipment to the international markets, giving them capacity earlier in the year.

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