Liberty Energy Says 15 New Frac Fleets to Hit US Market This Year

(Reuters) — The second-largest U.S. shale fracturing firm Liberty Energy on Thursday said service firms have about 30 new frac fleets in development and about half of those will hit the market this year.

Liberty's estimate suggests an about 6% increase this year to the about 250 fleets now available in the U.S. to break trapped shale oil and gas for production.

Demand for oil well completions equipment surged in the past year, outstripping supply as Liberty and rivals prioritized cash flow over building new fleets. On Thursday, Liberty said capacity in North America remains tight.

"North American frac activity predominately just supports the maintenance of today's oil and gas production levels. The days of breakneck oil and gas growth are over," said CEO Chris Wright on an earnings call.

Weak prices for U.S. natural gas is prompting many gas producers to shift drilling rigs to oilier basins, Liberty said.

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