July 24 The Department of Justice is examining
potential antitrust issues in the U.S. market for pressure
pumping services, which are used in hydraulic fracturing,
according to Baker Hughes Inc, owner of the
third-largest pressure pumping fleet.
The market for pressure pumping equipment has been
oversupplied for more than a year because a prolonged slump in
natural gas prices led to a slowdown in gas-directed drilling.
But in 2011, there was an industry-wide push to add capacity in
response to a ramp-up in fracking around the country.
Baker Hughes said in a quarterly filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission that on May 30, it had
received a Civil Investigative Demand from the DOJ pursuant to
the Antitrust Civil Process Act.
DOJ is seeking documents and information for the period from
May 29, 2011 through May 30, 2013 in connection with an
investigation related to U.S. pressure pumping services, the
"We are working with the DOJ to provide the requested
documents and information," Baker Hughes said in its filing. "We
are not able to predict what action, if any, might be taken in
the future by the DOJ or other governmental authorities as a
result of the investigation."
The company gave no further details.
A spokeswoman for the Houston-based company was not
immediately available for comment. Other leading U.S. pressure
pumping companies include Halliburton and Schlumberger
, and officials for those companies were not immediately