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Engines which once moved marines around Iraq and Afghanistan, are now being used to move millions of gallons of water in the state of Louisiana.
Two Louisiana companies believe that using retired military helicopter engines to pump the millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals needed for hydraulic fracturing, could be the future for the US shale boom.
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Green Field Energy Services and Turbine Power Technology believe that their high pressure systems will prove very successful, not only because they re-use scrap engines, but because the engines can run on cheap natural gas, something that no other competing pump system can achieve.
Apache Corp. estimates that in 2012 companies in the US used more than 700 million gallons of diesel to power their hydraulic fracturing operations, at a rough cost of $2.38 billion. That fracking has in turn created a shale boom that has seen natural gas prices plummet and it is predicted that using natural gas instead of diesel could cut costs by more than 30%.
Turbine Power Technology buys the old turbine engines, that once powered Chinook and Huey helicopters, and, using a team of military veterans, restores them and converts them to run on natural gas, and then turns them into machines to be used at oil wells.
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Ted McIntyre, the CEO of Turbine Power Techonology, said that they “basically take one man’s junk and turn it into treasure.”
This innovative use of military scrap engines has caught the eye of major players in the US shale industry, such as Shell, Apache Corp., and GE.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com