FTS International (formerly Frac Tech Services) has found a way to mix oil and water. The company helps US oil and gas firms make the most of their older assets by releasing tough-to-recover petroleum through hydraulic fracturing, a process which pumps a proprietary solution of sand and water into shale reservoirs to release oil and gas. FTS International runs 33 fracturing units (1.4 million horsepower) in the shale basins of Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New Mexico. It also owns sand mining and processing operations that supply most of its primary raw material. In 2011 the company was acquired by a Temasek Holdings-led consortium and reorganized as FTS International.
The completed deal resulted in the Singapore-based Temasek Holdings group controlling 70% of FTS International and shale driller Chesapeake Energy controlling 30%.
The company then filed to go public in September 2011 with an IPO expected to raise more than $1 billion, which would have been used to pay down debt. However, FTS International kept postponing the offering due to market weakness. Finally, it withdrew the IPO in November 2012.
A truly vertically integrated company, FTS International makes pumps and pump components and replacement parts, mines and processes sand from its own reserves, produces many of the chemicals used in fracturing, and owns distribution facilities and equipment. The company purchased its sand mines in 2009 and in 2011 had 313 million tons of sand reserves.
In 2010 and 2011, increased drilling activity in North American oil and gas plays spurred demand for FTS International's services. This, coupled with higher commodity prices led to a strong surge in revenues and net income in 2010 and 2011.
In addition to cashing in on the North American drilling boom, long term the Temasek Holdings consortium is looking to use FTS International's services and expertise to exploit underdeveloped shale plays in Asia, especially in China.
Brothers Dan and Farris Wilks, along with Bill Barker, formed FTS International as Frac Tech Services in 2000. Frac Tech first filed to go public in late 2010, before withdrawing that IPO when Temasek Holdings stepped in and bought the company. – less