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Denver Business Journal: “Liberty Oilfield challenges climate change assumptions as it trolls The North Face”

“Liberty Oilfield challenges climate change assumptions as it trolls The North Face”

by Greg Avery


Chris Wright has never been shy about challenging conventional wisdom, and nowhere is that more obvious than in his Denver-based fracking company’s corporate sustainability report.

Half of the 84-page sustainability report issued in early June by Liberty Oilfield Services, the second-largest U.S. provider of hydraulic fracturing and related well services, lays out detailed challenges to widespread assumptions about climate change and energy policy beliefs.

“We’ve always been honest followers of the data in our business. Why would we be any different here?” Wright said.

Rather than scare off shareholders, many investors will appreciate Liberty making its case, he predicts.

Liberty’s sustainability report covers how natural gas replacing coal has been a major driver in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reduction and how some of the effects of climate change often cited in calls for immediate public policy action — such as a quickening rise in sea levels and increasingly severe and deadly weather events — aren’t supported by factual data.

Liberty’s sustainability report published the same week that Wright and Liberty Oilfield released a new video and downtown billboard praising The North Face, an outdoor clothing brand of Denver-based VF Corp., for using petroleum products to make “puffer” jackets and other items.

Wright appeared on Fox Business cable news and did other media interviews about the video, billboard and accompanying public relations campaign.

It’s a continuation of the Denver oil and gas industry’s effort to highlight The North Face’s reliance on petroleum products after it rejected selling 400 co-branded jackets to a Houston-based fracking company. The North Face said it was making its co-branding sales align with the company’s commitments to sustainability and environmental protection.

The oil and gas industry considers that hypocritical, given the degree to which North Face products and the outdoor pursuits of its customers rely on fossil fuels. Calling it out is meant to attract attention to oil and gas uses that are being left out of the public narrative about sustainability, Wright said.

“It’s just trying to bring a sober, thoughtful dialogue to this issue,” he said. “We have a very unhealthy climate for talking about energy, and we want to change that.”

Half of Liberty Oilfield’s sustainability report still is devoted to the company’s environmental protection strategies.

That includes 25% of its fracking fleets — the large pumper trucks that push fracking fluid and sand under incredible pressure down the well bore — running new diesel engines that reduce particulate emissions by 87% compared to traditional fleets.

The engines are Tier IV “dynamic gas blend” diesel engines. They’ll become the standard engine in future new fleets the company puts into the field, Liberty says.

It has also been developing and expects to soon start using fracking fleets powered by electricity, what Liberty calls its digiFrac fleet.

Other companies have started using electric fracking, but those systems are dependent on electricity generated by a natural gas turbine power plant the fracking project sets up nearby. The overall emissions of the system aren’t necessarily better than the clean-burning Tier IV diesel fracking fleets, Wright says, while Liberty’s digiFrac fleet will have at least 20% fewer emissions than the clean diesel fleets, Wright said.

A digiFrac system is being tested in fracking projects in West Texas now, the company says. Liberty expects commercially roll out its first commercial digiFrac fleet next year.


Full article here.


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