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FTS finalises Brazilian joint venture

US firm FTS International has finalised a joint-venture agreement in Brazil with explorer Petra Energia that will give the privately held pressure pumper a firm presence in the emerging onshore oil and gas provinces of South America.

The venture, which has also received approval from Brazil's regulators, will initially operate in the Sao Francisco and Reconcavo basins but will have field offices all over the country.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, FTS Brasil will provide well-completion services for onshore conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells. Financial terms of the tie-up were not disclosed.

Services will include manufacturing, assembly and maintenance of well-completion equipment such as high-pressure hydraulic pumps and mobile pressure pumping units. FTS Brasil may also venture into other services such as sourcing and marketing of raw materials like proppants and specialised well-completion additives, FTS said in a statement.

"The company's long-term plan is to manufacture well-completion equipment and blend additives in Brazil, using the local labour force," the statement said, adding that it also plans to provide research and development services for well completions.

FTS, formerly known as FracTech, has been trying to expand itself internationally as countries in Latin America and Asia look to tap sizable shale reserves. However, the push to replicate the shale success the US has had has been slowed by a dearth of infrastructure and necessary equipment, such as hydraulic horsepower.

FTS Brasil will initially mobilise about 22,500 hydraulic horsepower of mobile pressure-pumping equipment to Brazil, with operations set to commence in the second half of 2013.

FTS spokeswoman Pam Percival said the initial mobilisation is for a single fleet.

"Given the resource potential in Brazil, we see FTS Brasil growing with additional fleets/horsepower over time, but we are starting with this single fleet," she said in an email.

Marc Rowland, who had been FTS' chief executive until recently, told Upstream last year that the company was in talks with as many as five possible joint-venture partners in countries including China, Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Brazil.

Rowland said at the time that Argentina and Brazil would need a combined 500,000 to 600,000 horsepower by 2014, adding that the company would look to add as much as 150,000 horsepower with each joint venture it signed in order to meet demand.

Rowland was replaced as chief executive earlier this month after 18 months on the job. Greg Lanham, an executive at top shareholder Temasek, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, is FTS' new chief executive.

US gas giant Chesapeake also owns a 30% stake in the company.

Upstream Online -  13 November 2012 

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