Archive for March, 2017

untitled.pngLike us humans, it seems like oil markets have two ears.
Going in one ear, is the squeal of the resurgent U.S. oil industry. In the other ear, it’s loud chatter about whether or not OPEC and friends are complying with production cuts.
In between the ears, in the minds of the traders, the price for a barrel of oil dozes between US$50 and US$55 per barrel.
Occasional bullish shout outs of unrelenting consumption growth, scary geopolitics and declining production may be heard. Others growl like bears that GDP is weakening in key developing economies, there is too much oil in white storage tanks everywhere (there is) and so on, ergo price should go down. But the bull-bear din has not yet been loud enough to shake the market out of its fifty-to-fifty-five price trance.

So what in the world of oil is the noise that’s relevant beyond a walking rig in Texas and a war-damaged valve in Libyasomething that really tells us about where the industry is headed (or not)?

One thing that’s drowned out in the information commotion is the rig activity in various regions beyond the U.S. Its time to revisit this data, which is a real-time whistle that tells us about the economic viability of drilling for more oil at US$50-a-barrel worldwide.

No wonder we’re not hearing much. The sound of rising masts and grinding bits is pretty weak beyond the US and Canada.

Latin American oil-targeted activity has levelled out at just over 150 rigs after dropping precipitously from a pre-crash peak of 395. The signal is pretty clear: Not much works at fifty bucks a barrel between the Rio Grande and Patagonia.

Rigs in the Asia-Pacific region have stopped falling at the 135 mark too, down from 195. Not very exciting and hard to make a case that current oil prices are enough to open corporate wallets, even after all the hoopla about declining service costs. Ditto for European and African drilling; both regional oil-targeted rig counts are holding in the 40 to 50 range with no upward inclination in the absence of higher prices per barrel.

Most interesting is the Middle East region. Drilling was active in the deserts through to the end of 2015, which contributed to the mother of all price wars in early 2016. Over the past 12 months a gentle decline in activity is noticeable, off an average 15 rigs down to the 290 mark. Capital is being husbanded in these countries, recognizing that US$50 a barrel doesn’t kick off enough cash flow to warrant incremental re-investment. Stated more bluntly, state-owned oil companies don’t have a lot of extra money for drilling after the necessity of paying cash dividends to their states.
Other international drilling tidbits include trends in OPEC versus non-OPEC. The 12-member cartel’s activity is down nearly 20% from 2014 levels and holding for the moment around300. Non-OPEC activity (excluding US and Canada) is still falling but not as steeply as last year.

The most notable downward trend right now is offshore drilling. Peaking at 340 oil-and-gas platforms bobbing in seas and oceans, the count has steadily fallen to 200 over the past two years. Indications are that it’s going lower, a trend that is consistent with the understanding that long-term upstream megaprojects are passé in the face of short-cycle onshore investment. So it’s no surprise that the trend on dry land is pointing up.

Yes, rig productivity has increased many-fold over the past couple of years, but that’s mostly a North American phenomenon.  Such gains are the prime reason that only two places in the world where the rig counts are up meaningfully are the U.S. (up 55 per cent) from this time last year, and Canada (up almost 54 per cent).

Too much oil in inventory and prolific productivity in places like Texas will continue to resonate loudly over the next several months, potentially putting downward pressure on price again. But the weak background noise of global drilling activity is a distant alarm for shortfalls in future oil supply—all in the face of still-robust year-over-year consumption growth.

So what falls on deaf ears today may be music to the market’s ears tomorrow.

Peter Tertzakian is Executive Director of the ARC Energy Research Institute in Calgary, Alberta.

via Alarm bells over looming oil shortages being drowned out by the squeal of resurgent U.S. shale | Financial Post

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This is a cool article outlining the rise and fall of US Oil rig count and the rise and fall of prices and production. Very Cool!

via Watch U.S. Oil Drilling Collapse—and Rise Again

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Is oil making a run for it?

Posted: March 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

Featured Image -- 122The black gold rush is in another early stage for a come back. It feels a little different. Sure everyone had tried to cut back. Watch their bottom line and weather this storm. But this time many have shut down or sold off to larger entities or have been consumed by the bank.

With things only starting to pick up you can see the issues all companies are sharing. They cut their workforce and now they need them back in a big way. But now many aren’t ready to come back. They have found alternative sources of income. New jobs.

If they come back, how can they be sure they will stay working? That they won’t just end up unemployed if things don’t turn around?

New young inexperienced workers don’t want to have to work that hard, be away from home for weeks on end. They don’t want to end up like their parents or family friends that have lost everything banking on the big oil boom that took it all away when the bust cycle settled in.

How do you attract new people? Or bring back the experienced people when budgets are tight and companies can’t afford to bring back incentives and big wages to attract people without putting the company in financial jeopardy?

As a service company fortunately xtra stayed conservative through the last few years. Keeping overhead low, a small crew of elite employees and good relationships with current clients.

But now is the time to gear and soldier up. To jump into the war for our marketshare. Seeing the storm clouds clearing, we believe the boom is on its way back. With new equipment being added to the fleet, and now with resources to enhance our services and develop market leading technologies we hope to be in on the forefront of the next new wave of energy development with the top most technologically advanced fleet of well testing equipment and employees that excel at showcasing the evolution of what well testing can and should be.

With real time data that engineers can access from their computer and hand held devices. The ability to transfer well data to other programs to accelerate reporting times and not be stuck waiting for emailed updates.
This will also aid in the safety of employees and other contractors onsite.

With the struggle of finding new workers that want to stick with a career in the oil and gas, resources need to be used to advance equipment to reduce the workload and requirements of staff.

To allow productivity to continue at the same rate or better than before with fewer people and still allow the experienced staff time to train new aspiring employees in this fast paced budget and time constraint industry.
Live data is not new for well testing. But it hasn’t become an industry standard due to cost of equipment and return on investment.

But it can’t stay that way. High cost drilling and completions need information now, immediate decisions can be made when information can be presented immediately.
With how technology has made most services or information on anything required almost immediate, why would clients expect anything less for well information?
This is only a basic introduction into what the think tanks at Xtra Energy are looking to bring to their services to stay competitive. With the new carbon taxes implemented we believe the future is to help clients not only reduce emissions and costs associated with flaring if pipeline infrastructure isn’t available, but to eliminate flaring with such technologies as cryogenic flare gas filtration to remove carbon and other emissions from clean up well gas.

We are excited to see technology has a place in our field and hope to be the leaders in presenting it to the industry