In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to Ron Gusek, President at Liberty Oilfield Services about "Leveraging Technology and Innovation to Reduce the Cost of Energy and Minimizing Environmental Impact". Get the answers to your "Oil and Gas Innovation" questions along with Ron's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!
You can find out more about Ron and the wonderful team at Liberty Oilfield Services on the innovative solutions that reduce the cost of energy while minimizing the impact to the environment by the links below. Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2020. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!
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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots,
and let's go. Alright, welcome
to the industrial talk podcast, the number one industrial related podcast in the universe. I'm not overselling that I don't think I am. Thank you very much for joining. We celebrate you industry heroes all around the world because you are bold, you are brave. You dare greatly you solve problems, you make people's lives better, and you're changing the world. I don't think there's anything else better to celebrate than you. Thank you very much for what you do. And joining the industrial talk podcast. All right. in the hot seat, we got a gentleman by the name of Ron Gusek, President of Liberty Oilfield Services, we'll be talking a little bit about fracking 101 pretty cool topic, as well as technology, the advancements of technology and how it just makes the world a better place. Gosh, you guys are great. All right,
let's get cracking.
go out to a stat card, big time stat card, you'll say Wow, he's uh, he's got some skills, I've got some mad street credit, as well as he's a super nice guy. As is a lot of people within industry, super nice people. I don't know, it's, I'm living the dream, I'm living the dream. Before we get in the interview, let's just talk a little bit about business. We have a new, well, I can't say we're in the process. Industrial talk 2.0. And, and what we're doing there is we're just sort of redesigning, we have the podcast, we have videos, we have training, we have everything. And now we want to be able to begin pursuing and having greater educational opportunities for industrial professionals, greater and easier collaboration opportunities with industry professionals, like for example, if you want to get involved, let's just say you want to reach out to Ron here, you can you can see what he's doing, what his team's doing at Liberty, oilfield services, and so on and so forth, and be able to create these great opportunities to be able because I'll tell you right now, Ron, others are really into this whole education, collaboration, and innovation. I think that's, that's where we have to be. That's where we're going. And that's what's industrial talk to dot o is we want masterminds, we want to solve problems, more problems using and connecting with the individuals that make things happen, which is everybody, and then be able to put it together because I think me and I just got done talking with Intel, that the same thing exists, we we just don't have pre pandemic. Yeah, maybe we have the solutions during this pandemic, during this next normal during this new normal, whatever it might be. I think what we're looking at is a necessity and people's willingness to collaborate and solve problems. Because that's really where it is. And I think that more and more people are just doing that. And that's what this is all about. I'm just telling you right now. That's what this is all about. All right. That's industrial talk. 2.0 Be on the lookout for that. All right, another thing?
there's not I'm gonna hold off on that. Let's talk a little bit around. Ron gooseneck. All right, Liberty oilfield. He's been there for about seven years little over. He's got oil and gas pedigree like nobody's business, and just all around great guy, Canadian, just like my parents. So he is a nice guy. But we're talking about fracking 101. And I think that it's really interesting for us to have that realization that energy is very important, especially today. And companies like companies like liberty. They're doing everything they can to deliver the energy to deliver the products at the lowest possible price. And and do it in such a way that it minimizes the impact to communities in the society. They have a really beautiful purpose. And then you can tell man a they've got that desire to do it and do it right. Gosh, Liberty oilfield services.
let's get on with the interview. Ron Gusek is in the hot seat. He spells his last name g USEK. Reach out but you know, it'll all be out on industrial talk.com everything that you need to know to be able to connect. Alright, enjoy the interview. Ron. Wow. Welcome to the industrial talk podcast absolute honor Howard. Are you doing today?
Very well. Thanks, Scott. Excited to be here with you. So thanks very much for having no idea
how excited I was looking forward to this interview. I, of course, I was looking on my, my calendar and I'm going all right Ron's right around the corner right there. And I, I might as well just sort of sit here. Just be excited about this conversation. All right, listeners, we're gonna be talking a little bit about what Liberty frac does, you can imagine in their name. Yep. They're in the oil and gas industry. And they definitely help a lot of companies do a lot of great things. And we're gonna go into that particular conversation. But before we do that, Ron, little 411, because your stat cards great out there, but little 411 on who you are.
All right. Ah, yeah, quick, quick history on me. I grew up in Canada, just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, and ended up going to engineering school I love taking apart cars and things like that. So mechanical engineering was, was in my, in my nature, my dad was a carpenter, pretty handy guy. And so I was hands on sort of person. And, and, and so engineering came pretty natural to me. I swore I'd never saw a store, I'd never work in the oil and gas industry. You know, I grew up in Alberta and a crazy time, and thought that was too volatile and industry for me. And so I started working in heating, ventilation and air conditioning figured everybody need that all their lives, that's a safe place to go to work, but our oil and gas in Alberta so it didn't take probably four years after I got out of school and I ended up in oil and gas have been in it ever since. So I'm I'm almost 25 years in the oil and gas industry now seeing a good chunk of the world as a result of it. But most of that based in Calgary, but packed up and moved down here to Denver in 2014. And been here with Liberty ever since.
That is amazing. That's it? I mean, it's it's hard. Yeah, you're in Alberta, it's hard to avoid that. Oil and Gas. It's, it's it's a big deal up there.
It is a big deal. 30% of the GDP or something like that.
Yeah, it's a big deal. Yeah, it's hard to avoid, and it's but but being in the business for 25 years, you've seen a lot of a lot of changes a lot of technology, a lot of advancements, and and from my perspective, all pretty benefit, you're not sitting out there trying to say, I'm going to make it as as inefficient as I possibly know you guys are always pursuing that technology, the efficiencies and being able to achieve that as much as you possibly can. Now, for the listeners out there, and for me, too, because I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed give us a little tracking 101. And what Liberty frac does just just give us a little basis, and then we'll just sort of springboard from there.
Alright, sounds good, a little basics on exactly what we do. So, you know, today, when we drill a well, it's something called a horizontal well, so we're going to drill down maybe 7000 8000 10,000 feet into the ground vertically. And then we're going to turn that well horizontally, and we're going to drill out a mile or two or three inside the rock that we are interested in. And then the problem is the rock that we're drilling into the natural pore spaces in the holes for the molecules to flow through are so small that oil and gas wouldn't naturally flow out to the hole to the well that we just put in. And so it needs a little help. And so we do something called hydraulic fracturing, which is creating cracks in that rock radiating outwards from that wellbore that we drill. And that provides a better pathway for oil and gas to get to the surface, I kind of liken it to creating a city. So you know, if everybody wants to get downtown, you know, we have major freeways on which all the cars can get from their little neighborhoods, then you get out onto a big freeway and then ultimately end up in the place you need to get to fracking is just like that we put, you know, we put a big wellbore down there, which is the major freeway, and then we create all these arteries into it, which are the hydraulic fractures. And that gives those little molecules a path to get to serve where we can use them.
So the question I have somebody had to come up with this thing, this fracking solution, how long has it really been around?
It's been around a long time. Well, more than 50 years, we started fracking in North America back in the 1940s or 1950s. It looked a lot different back then, of course, but but fundamentally the exact same idea that we do today, we just do it at a different scale.
See, I never knew that. The way I sort of look at it, it's like, hey, this came out it's relatively new and they're doing this and and but but it's it's a it's a technology that's been
Yeah, that's a long time. It
It's Yeah, you know, it's evolved for sure we we do it at a different scale. Today, we do a lot more of it. The reservoirs we work in require more stimulation, more fracking to to produce oil or gas but, but still exactly the same principle that we started decades and decades ago.
So in this particular case, the benefits of fracking are obvious you can get greater yield from a specific location. And, you know, it's I guess, and correct me, Ron, if it's like low hanging fruit, I can pick it, but maybe there's some fruit that's a little higher up, and that tree can yield more from that that analogy, which is, I admit very weak, however, it is for me and the listeners anyway. From from a yield perspective, what what, what can we see from an existing location greater yield? What are we talking about?
Well, I would guess that most of the wells we drilled today, if you didn't frack them, they wouldn't produce a drop of oil or gas, you would get almost nothing out of them. And so, hydraulic fracturing means the difference between a well that does nothing and and a well, that will produce hundreds of 1000s of barrels of oil, or or millions and millions of cubic feet of gas over its lifetime. That wasn't true. Historically, it used to be you could drill a well, and it would flow on its own, and it would flow that way for years and years and years. But today, the reservoirs we work in, that's not the case, they they require stimulation to produce at any economic level.
Amazing. And, and you get to a point, and once again, I would imagine, a driver is a cost per barrel, and the solution needs to sort of be within that economic benefit. If it's outside of it, then it makes no sense. But if it's within that, so you're constantly driving, to the point of trying to make it more efficient, better cost effective.
Yeah, I mean, of course, oil, oil and gas are commodities. And so they are driven by a supply demand curve, to to at least some extent, and so you know, there's a, there's a price out there that we can get for a barrel of oil. And ultimately, you know, if a company is going to be a success, they have to find a way to produce a barrel of oil, for less money than they are able to sell it for same is true of any business, and ours looks no different than that. Now, of course, you know, the great thing about having low oil and gas prices is that is that everybody benefits from that, you know, we all, we all consume hydrocarbons in some way, shape, or form that might be directly in the form of your furnace, or hot water tank or something like that, that might be a little less directly in the form of gasoline in your car. But we all consume those less expensively, we can ultimately find a way to produce a barrel of oil or a molecule of gas, less expensive energy is for humanity. And so, you know, we have to continue to be innovative and find ways to lower the cost of energy. And we also have to find ways to lower the impact of producing that. And
when you say impact, what do you mean by that?
Well, I think there's a lot of ways you could think about that certainly the the most talked about one is is the thoughts around impact co2 emissions in the climate. So that's a, that's a very, very big picture one. But you could also drill down to a much, much smaller level than that, you know, here in Colorado, the majority of the, or the core of the field that we work in is right up and down the front range of the Rockies here, which also happens to be where the vast majority of people are moving into Colorado. And so we find ourselves in a situation where we are going to be working in very, very close proximity to a place where somebody is living close to a backyard close to a park or a playground or a school or something like that. And so as you know, when we put that pad in place, and ultimately go out there to work through the exercise of drilling and completing those wells before they they produce, there's some impact to those folks. There's there's noise and some dust and some truck traffic. And and we recognize that as a as an inconvenience to the people who are nearby there. And so it's incumbent upon us, as industry to find ways to minimize that impact for the time that we are there. So we don't want to keep them up at night with loud engines, we don't want trucks coming and going at all hours of the night to the extent we can avoid that. We want to find ways to minimize the dust in the air so that they don't, they don't have their enjoyment of the outdoors taken away from them. So we continue to focus on solutions to try to get that local impact small as possible.
See, that's interesting. Because, you know, of course, your business wants to do that. Of course, you you want to minimize your impact, because the value of what you're doing is important because beyond the the natural gas component and beyond the the obvious one gasoline, petrochemicals I mean, it's a it's an everything. I mean look, it's everywhere, right? And without it I mean you're just like my speakers. I guarantee you right? But it's we forget the the the massive impact, but then you've got this desire within let's say Liberty frac to To really minimize the local impact to the community and people, because that's important, too. And I'll set you live in you live in beautiful country. Do you do it, but but there's the resource, and you're going to be challenged to do it in a way that is that makes sense. And you guys accomplish that. That's how I look at it.
Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. You know, having worked in this industry, now I've grown to truly appreciate what what energy has done for humanity and what it will continue to do for, for the future. And so I think what we do is incredibly important, you, you made a lot of great points there. Oil and gas is everywhere around us, there are the obvious things like transportation, fuel, and whatnot, but plastic medicine, and the list go fertilizer for agriculture, the list goes on, and on and on. There are lots of great videos out there that show what life would look like without oil and gas. And it is a shadow of the, you know, the world that we enjoy today. So, you know, we we view what we do is incredibly important. And while a lot of people maybe don't recognize exactly how critical oil and gas is to their world, we know that but we take very seriously our responsibility to produce what we view as an as maybe the most needed industry in the world, to do so as responsibly as we possibly can. And yes, to your point, that means continued investment in technology and innovation to find new and better ways to do things.
So speaking of that, you touched upon it, it is a it's a bullet point on my some on my my sheet right here, Rod, is, let's talk about technology. You're constantly investing, you're constantly applying, you're constantly looking at the technology that can produce the results that you need to produce, minimize whatever it needs to be minimized, make it more efficient, and so that the cost points are constantly being what recent technologies. Can you sort of point to? That says, Yeah, this is this is this is cool.
Yeah, sure, I'll I'll point to a couple, there's the list is long. And we've got all kinds of ways with that. But let me go back to that, that whole idea of reducing impact in in a local area, you know, we take, we take a lot of equipment out of to a location to frack a well, if you if you ever have a chance to go visit a location, it is something to see, we will, we will drive out there, you know, your average car is maybe 200 250 300 horsepower in the engine, we will take 50,000 horsepower out to location. So you can appreciate that a lot of engines out there running at the same time. And they make a lot of noise. And so we work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to produce energy and, and so you know, if we're out there making a lot of noise, and somebody's trying to sleep through the night door, that's not a good combination. And of course, that frustrates them. And so we worked hard to find a way to quiet down that equipment to make sure that even if we were running at two o'clock in the morning, if you were 500 feet away from where all of that equipment is running, you would not be able to hear it. And so a few years ago, we rolled out something called the quiet fleet. And it takes the hit for our equipment down at 500 feet to less than 65 decibels which is which is you know, just in common terms, quiet conversation. So if you're 500 feet from our frack location where all of those big compson engines are running, you can listen to the birds chirping now. And that was important for us, particularly here in Colorado, in the northeast, for example, they do a lot of work around residential areas there. And even in even in Texas, we find we're doing work closer to cities there as well. That's, that's one example. Another good example just might be evolution from an emissions standpoint. You know, we of course those are those are big diesel engines and and if you've driven around behind a diesel truck, you know that they they emit black smoke, sometimes particulates. And so we've continued to invest in the in the best engine technology to make sure that our emissions profile will follow. And so, you know, when we first started the company 10 years ago, that was those engines meta, a tier two emission specification, we now have moved to the latest and greatest which is year four, that's like a factor of an reduction in in those particulate emissions versus what they used to look like not that long ago. So the the emissions are getting cleaner. Our next step that we're working on right now is actually an electric, frankly, be driven by electric motors instead of by diesel motors. We'll have that out for tests this year, but ultimately commercialized I think next year, that'll be a dramatic step forward and what one of those locations sounds like, looks like and operates like so. Yeah, lots of lots of big investments. And I mean, these are these are not inexpensive things measured in millions and millions of dollars to deploy technology.
I'm I'm done to buy the quiet equipment that I know I've seen it I if I come to Colorado, I expect a trip to one of your locations but Sirius Sirius equipment. And I'm I'm amazed that you're able to achieve it's amazing the the innovation that can be applied that that equipment is that quiet. I mean, it just amazes me, I don't know how you do it.
I appreciate the creativity of our engineering team when they dream things up like that, you know, it took us a couple of years but but I kudos to our team for having the initiative to do that, for having the vision to think that that can be accomplished and ultimately getting there. And but I think that just speaks to the level of innovation that exists inside our industry, I never cease to be amazed by
itself funny when I have conversations with individuals within the oil and gas industry, the market.
it's like, it's innovation on steroids. You have to constantly think of innovative ways of doing your work. And and it and yeah, you may be you guys put your money where your mouth is you make that investment you do it. It's one thing to chirp about it. It's another thing to make it happen. Kudos, I just think it's in that in that in that admissions. So that electric, the electric option. I mean, I've been having a lot of conversations about just electric everything, right? There's a lot of lot of horsepower. And and solutions there. I mean, it, it could be that that's amazing.
Maybe a big step forward, you know, not a small undertaking. Of course, if you looked at if you looked at the equivalent of that, just thinking about people, I guess one frack leads probably the equivalent power draw of a town of, I don't know, 15 or 20,000 people. So it's, it's a major undertaking to get that electrified, we probably don't take that power off the grid, at least not to start with maybe that's a long term goal, we probably have to generate that power nearby ourselves. But but it will still be a meaningful step forward from where we are today. I
just you just sort of glossed over that. That little statistic of the power requirement of a 20,000. You know, population community. I grew up in that town in California, and you just sort of roll about that and go, are you kidding me? That is stunning. That is that? How many Meg's would that be? I don't even know
about about something between 15 and 18 megawatts.
So you're looking at a GE type of deal. You're looking
at a on one side? Yeah, you could use a gas turbine, that's certainly a solution that you'll find out there for generating that kind of power, we're gonna take a little bit different approach that maybe the equivalent of a hybrid electric vehicle where you have natural gas engines, but we're going to use Recep engine, so kind of like a car engine, but run on natural gas, together with a battery pack. And and that will allow us to, to, to deliver a bit of a hybrid electricity approach and run the engines as little as possible. So we're aiming for as low in emissions footprint as possible with that solution.
I'm telling you, man, that's dead sexy.
I don't even know where to go. You smile everyday getting up to do this stuff.
Yeah, I see. I'm sitting
there. I'm just geeking out on everything. They're just saying, because my mind's going a gazillion miles per hour. But I love that. And you know what's interesting? Speaking for you, you're talking natural gas out of that. That last solution? Well, I mean, you guys, you guys know a little bit about natural gas. Right?
A little bit. Yeah.
Good, fit, good fit. Now, let's, let's sort of put on our future hat. Where do you see it going? I mean, there's a lot of a lot of activity going out there a lot of uncertainly. I mean, come on. I mean, I haven't. I think I went to the gas station. What, once in six months or something ridiculous. And so a lot of people are in that, that sort of, so that that consumption, where do you see it going? So future?
You're absolutely right. Last year, I can't remember what demand came off by at the low point, but it was pretty significant. Pretty meaningful dip in in demand for our products. It's come back. Not all the way of course. But it might be off three or 4%. Now from where it was before. But, you know, going into going into the whole downturn as a result of the pandemic, the world was consuming, Ah, look just a little north of 100 million barrels of oil a day. We're still up in the 90 million plus barrels of oil a day. And I'd be very surprised if we didn't get back up over 100 million barrels a day in the foreseeable future and and the story is not much different for gas you know, if you if we live a fantastic life here in North America, I mean, you look around and we are absolutely spoiled. In terms of the world that we enjoy, there are still a billion people in the world that lack basically any access to electricity. There's another billion people in the world who have intermittent access to electricity. The demand for energy is still growing dramatically. And while we are working our way through a transition to add different forms of electricity generation to our world, we are still some ways from being in a place where I think that displaces oil and gas, particularly for transportation, fuel and whatnot. I haven't seen the statistics for 2020 yet, but 2019 was a record year for total energy delivered by oil and gas in North America. And so and I'd be surprised if 2020 wasn't another record year in terms of percentage of total energy provided by oil and gas. It's, it's a massive number. And so it continues to grow for a while yet simply because we don't have an easy replacement for it. You know, battery technology has come a long ways. But it is still a long, long ways from being able to provide grid scale power to us for a meaningful period of time. And we're not in a place where batteries put a fixed issue that happened a couple of weeks, but we're not there yet. And so I see it continue to grow for some period of time, I'm kind of in the camp that we don't see Peak Oil and Gas demand out, you know, for another two decades, probably a decade and a half, for sure, well into the 2030s, maybe into the 2040s. And so for at least as long as I'm going to be working, we're going to be working hard to produce oil and gas as cost effectively and with as little impact. Awesome.
So yeah, that's that's passion, baby. That is what I do, man. So here's, here's the funny thing, one of the things that just sort of stuck, and we once again, and you brought it up, we take it for granted, we live here and in where we live, we have access to pretty much anything, we take it for granted, and will complain about something and, and and yet, there are billions of people who do not have that type of luxury. And we forget, we forget that there are large portions of the world's population that don't have access to it.
Yeah, that's it, you know, so we have that global focus, but But even here in North America, you know, you can look at a map of folks who still have to dedicate 10 plus percent of their household income to paying their energy bill. And so I think it's incumbent upon us to still continue to work here in North America to find ways to lower the cost of energy delivered into somebody's house. And so that's important to me out on the coasts, it's, it's the worst, you'll see significant portions of the population on the eastern West Coast, challenged by paying their energy bills, just given the cost of living in those areas. It's a little less prevalent through the middle of the country, but it is a it is a big issue for people to afford energy, even here in North America, despite how well off we are. That is an interesting segment and we're talking you know, I don't like it when I when summer hits Louisiana.
My my, you cannot live in Louisiana without an AC, you just can't just me, you can't. And if you think you can, well, your line, and and my, my, my bill is substantial. And, but when it goes down, when there's adjustment, whatever it might be, that's real value to the bottom line, that's real value to individuals and their and what they did, so that's important. You know, you're you're clicking on all cylinders wrong, just FYI.
Well, I, you know, we when when you when you work in an industry that just plays that bigger role in our worlds, you, the people here are passionate about it. And you know, I think having having worked in it as long as I do, and, you know, I I've come to gain an appreciation for exactly what oil and gas has done for us. And, and, you know, while we're, while we're not always the, you know, the most favorite thing to talk about. It's important and so, you know, for as long as I'm here in this industry, I'm going to do all I can to make sure we're doing the best we possibly can to to do what you do every day.
Awesome. All right, we're gonna have to wrap it up. Are you out there on LinkedIn?
I certainly am. Are you active? I'm, I'm pretty active. Yeah, I you know, I there's lots of great things to share out there. And social media is a wonderful avenue to get to people. So I do what I can to share what I think are valuable contributions to that
community. A unique guy, he's just a unique guy.
I've tried to tell my girls I'm an influencer, but they have a different definition of influencers.
Yeah, you influence me. We could just say, Hey, tell your girls I've been fluid Scott. about right. Yeah, no, you're not. Those influencers are influencers. They're they're amazing. All right. So we're gonna have everything just FYI you listeners out there. I love this conversation. I will keep on going. But we're gonna have everything out on industrial talk.com. And you need to get a hold of this gent and great topic. candidate. I truly enjoyed it. A lot of good stuff out there
as well, Scott, really a chance to get on here with
you. Yeah, you're dropping value bombs. It's so cool. All right, innovation is on the gas, oil and gas innovation, what they're doing the investments. They understand it. We need energy. Ron's right in the thick of it. All right, listeners, Ron Gusek, who is on it. Thank you, Ron, you all of a sudden need to be staying tuned, because we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. So thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. We will be right back.
You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.
All right. That's Ron, told Jim, great guy. Great purpose, great focus. All those people at Liberty Oilfield Services definitely served a purpose. And trying to deliver that energy as low as possible, as efficient as possible. leveraging technology and everything in between. Yep, that's team liberty. oilfield services reach out to
industrial talk.com. All right, one last thing. Remember, industrial talk 2.0. We're creating a plan that is all about the collaboration. Continue to do this. It's going to require heavy lifting on our side, but we're going to be able to do we're excited about it. And it's all about education and collaboration and innovation. We need to spread that good word. So anyway, thank you very much. All right. Be bold, be brave, daring greatly. But my challenge to you is hanging out with people who are bold, brave and daring greatly. You're gonna change the world, just like Ron and team. Liberty oilfield. Thank you very much. We're gonna have another great interview right around the corner. So stay tuned.