Leading oilfield service provider Halliburton Company (HAL) has initiated its first bacteria-fighting truck in Australia. The deployment is aimed at cleaning fracking waters and reducing the environmental impact of drilling for natural gas.
Halliburton is known for its pressure-pumping technique called fracking, which is used by companies to drill and complete wells. This process blasts water mixed with sand and chemicals underground to free trapped hydrocarbons from shale formations.
The CleanStream unit of Halliburton was introduced two years ago in the U.S. This unit works to kill bacteria in the fracking fluid using ultra-violet light. Halliburton combined this technique with a process called CleanWave which uses an electrical charge to eliminate the contaminants and clean the water. The CleanStream unit was used for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2012, in the Cooper basin of Australia.
Earlier this month, Halliburton together with Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and U.S. energy firm Apache Corporation (APA) joined forces to develop dual-fuel technology mainly to provide power to the pumping equipment used for hydraulic fracturing. The innovative technology uses a mixture of natural gas and diesel, of which the usage of natural gas is the maximum. The system also emits low carbon dioxide by using natural gas usage, thereby maintaining the same level of fuel efficiency and power as diesel engine.
Halliburton is among the top three players in each of its product/service categories, and is present in all major hydrocarbon-producing regions of the world. The company enjoys a good relationship with both publicly-traded and national oil companies worldwide.
However, the new environmental regulations for hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) in the shale plays could adversely impact the company. The regulations will compel Halliburton to reveal the structure of its fluids, and potentially wipe out its competitive advantage in the high-end pressure-pumping market.
Following Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI), Halliburton was the second member of the ‘big 4 oil service companies’ to post above consensus results.
Halliburton carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it is expected to perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.
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