2 fracking crews leave Piceance for more lucrative areas

Two Grand Junction-based fracking crews are being sent from the Piceance Basin to work on freeing petroleum products with more market heft than natural gas.

BJ Services, 2403 Riverside Parkway, is sending the crews to undisclosed markets, Vice President of Investor Relations Gary Flaharty said Thursday. BJ Services, however, will remain active in the Piceance, offering other oil-field services, such as cementing, Flaharty said.

“We’re definitely not closing up” in Grand Junction, Flaharty said.

Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is the process of pumping water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into tight sands, freeing natural gas or other petroleum products.

Each fracking crew represents 25 or 30 workers, Flaharty said.

The move reflects a shift in the market away from natural gas, because of low prices.

In the week ended Wednesday, the Henry Hub spot price increased three cents to $4.55 per million Btu, according to the Energy Information Administration. In 2007, at the height of the gas boom, average price at the Henry Hub was $6.98 per million Btu, according to the Federal Reserve.

Oil and natural gas liquids, however, offer the greater potential for return in the current market, so BJ Services is directing its resources to formations with greater concentrations of oil and so-called “wet gas,” or gas laden with condensates, such as benzene, toluene, xylenes and ethylbenzene and other substances, Flaharty said.


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