Is fracking technology, the hydraulic process that enables the extraction of domestic oil and natural gas from shale-rock deposits, the magic bullet? The one that will finally slay the Middle East’s oilfield mega-gorilla who’s been holding the U.S. and much of the rest of the energy-thirsty western world hostage since the 1970s?
To many oil industry engineers, economists, financial analysts and executives, like Breitling Energy Corporation’s CEO, president and chairman Chris Faulkner, the question isn’t really about whether the technology will achieve the desired end result, but when it will do so. And the answer most experts tracking the industry believe is “right about now.”
According to the International Energy Agency, the United States — thanks in large part to advances in fracking efficiency pioneered by Breitling and others — will, by the end of 2014, surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s top oil producer for the first time in almost 50 years.
Though some oil company veterans have been a bit slow to realize the major implications of North Dakota’s Bakken Field, Montana’s Three Forks reserves, and other oil-and-gas-bearing shale deposits, Breitling’s Faulkner is one Texas oilman who not only saw the handwriting on the wall early on, but helped put it there.
Faulkner, author of the recently published book The Fracking Truth, executive producer of “Breaking Free,” a film about the shale-oil revolution, and winner of numerous “industry leader of the year,” “oil executive of the year,” and “best North American [energy company] operator of the year” awards, notes that “fracking has teed up America to solve this problem (of dependence on foreign sources to fuel its economy) with less risk and at greater gain than any other nation on earth.”
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Breitling has planted its drilling roots deeply in both old school and new age methods of finding oil and natural-gas deposits and wrestling them from their ancient hiding places. Their avowedly “lower-risk acquisition, exploration and development” operations are focused on preliminary and secondary oil and natural gas recovery in both traditional U.S. “oil play” areas and “shale play” (also known as “unconventional liquid play” to industry insiders) sites such as the Marcellus range in the Appalachians, Eagle Ford, Texas, Three Forks in Montana, and, of course, the Bakken fields in North Dakota.
By using state-of-the-art technologies such as 3D seismic modeling and CO2 tertiary-recovery technology, Breitling has frequently been able to reduce costs and improve yields to the point where even abandoned drilling fields previously believed unworkable are now yielding significant bottom-line returns.
“Our operating areas are characterized by long-lived natural gas and oil reserves and established production capabilities, with abundant growth opportunities. In each of the company’s operating areas, our deep backlog of drilling locations enables us to establish substantial economies of scale in drilling and production operations for more effective drilling and reservoir management practices,” Faulkner says.
Winner of the IAIR 2014 “Best Company Award for Leadership in Oil & Gas Extraction in the USA” and the 2013 “Aggreko Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship” in the Gulf Coast Region, Breitling’s culture is based on the concept that energy production, economic growth and development, and a clean and healthy environment are mutually inclusive rather than mutually exclusive.
“Being honored by the IAIR, whose panel of judges includes scientists and experts in law and finance from more than 120 nations, highlights an incredible decade of achievements and successes since Breitling’s founding in 2004,” states Faulkner.
“Between the release of the documentary ‘Gasland’ and the Deepwater Horizon disaster, I was stunned at how poorly the industry responded,” Faulkner said in a recent issue of “Energy Executive” magazine. “We still have a long way to go in trying to tell the full story. What I’ve learned through experience is that we have to do a much better job of getting our story out there, with full transparency and a willingness to face the tough questions.”
Among other core beliefs rooted in transparency toward shareholders, the public, and regulators, Faulkner believes the best way to handle tough questions is to meet them with responsive solutions. Which is one reason why he founded the Breitling Oil and Gas EnviroFrac™ research program in early 2010.
EnviroFrac™ scientists are charged with evaluating the environmental impact of additives typically used in hydraulic fracking operations and developing greener alternatives for those additives which pose either current or potential ecological hazards.
“EnviroFrac™ is a decisive move toward a greener fluid system,” Faulkner notes. “By reviewing all of the ingredients used in each frac, the program identifies chemicals that can be removed and tests alternatives for remaining additives. We are very proud that we have, to date, eliminated 25 percent of the additives that used to be key components in our shale operations. Our eventual goal is to replace any that pose even a slight threat to the people who work at or live adjacent to our project sites.”
For more information, visit www.breitlingenergy.com