FTS International CEO Greg Lanham says the joint venture with Sinopec means more jobs for North Texas and big potential for China to produce its own shale natural gas.
Fort Worth-based FTS is a well completion company that currently fracks oil and gas wells in every major shale play in the U.S. On Tuesday, the company announced a joint venture with Sinopec, the national oil company of China.
FTS will be the first oil field service company to operate in China. The 15-year joint venture will be called SinoFTS. It’s FTS’ largest joint venture to date and has been in the works for several years. In an interview Wednesday, Lanham said he plans to have crews and fracking equipment operating in the Sichuan Basin by late 2015. “It’s huge for both companies, really,” Lanham said. “I think it’s something that’s going to be transformational for us and impactful for China. There’s a strategic need in China to develop their energy resources.”
The joint venture has been in the works for several years and is the first of its kind, Lanham said.
“I think that speaks highly of us and their faith in us and what we can bring to the table,” Lanham said.
Fracking in the Sichuan, estimated to hold the largest natural gas reserve in the world, will be similar to the Haynesville Shale in East Texas and Louisiana.
“Nothing that we’ve seen so far is going to be more than what we do on a daily basis in the Haynesville,” Lanham said.
The biggest challenge will be the condition of the roads in the areas where FTS will be operating.
The company will begin retrofitting equipment to fit on different chassis where the weight can be distributed more evenly. They’ll also sit on all-wheel drive vehicles that can handle rough terrain rather than flatbed trailers that are hauled by big rigs, Lanham said.
“It can go in areas that have challenging infrastructure from a road standpoint,” Lanham said. That means more jobs for FTS’ facilities in Cisco, Fort Worth and Aledo. It’s too early to put a number figure on that but it will be a positive for all three locations. “We’ll need some people dedicated to this because it’s in addition to the work we’re doing now,” Lanham said.
FTS International is also pursuing joint venture opportunities in Mexico as that company opens itself up to foreign companies for the first time in decades.
“It’s obviously something that’s got a lot of potential,” Lanham said.