Category Archives: Drilling For Oil

Oil Prices Below $60 BBL Seen Through 2018 By Executives

Issue 115 – Expected Oil Pricing

Introduction…Almost two-thirds of U.S. oil executives expect oil prices below $60 per barrel through 2018 and not hitting $70 for two years.  This survey was published by Deloitte Services.

What the survey revealed…250 executives at companies that produce, transport, and refine oil and natural gas surveyed reflects a shift from last year when they expected commodity prices would rise and capital spending budgets would grow.

This year’s view comes as executives focus o cost controls and not on rising in commodity prices.  The new paradigm encourages shale producers to base executive compensation on the best uses of capital designed to keep costs low.

In summary…“The bottom line is that companies should focus on cost discipline and operational efficiency,” said Andrew Slaughter, head of Deloitte’s Center for Energy Solutions.

“The new reality seems to have set in; waiting for a significant price recovery may be a long haul.”

For more information, contact Bill Moist at bill@billmoist.net

Source:  “Most U.S. Oil Executives See Prices Below $60 barrel Through 2018, Oil Industry News, 13 October 2017

16-Story Super-Spec Rigs Bring Second Shale Boom

Drillers Mastered Feat Of Pumping For Less

Introduction...On a drilling rig towering above quiet cattle farms in Southeast Texas, Eric Williams perched inside the cabin of the 16-story machine, twisting a pair of joysticks to guide a gigantic wrench roaring into action, drowning out every sound as it reached for a 1,500-pound pipe emerging from the earth – pipe that soon will feed oil into a second shale boom.

Years ago, a worker doing Williams’ job would have stood outside on the rig floor, working a brake handle and knobs as men, drenched in sweat and syrupy fluid, worked the pipe by hand – a dangerous job. Now he sits behind six computer screens and a complex array of controls, piloting a 10-ton wrench on a so-called super-spec rig, one of a new breed of advanced drilling machines that are bigger and stronger than the ones that sparked the first U.S. shale oil bonanza a few years ago.

New technologies…They’re part of the fleet of new technologies paving the way for a historic surge of oil that could break the nation’s 1970 production record next year and further erode the decades-long grip the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has had on global oil markets. The cartel’s gathering in Vienna last week to extend oil production cuts put into place earlier this year showed how quickly the oil world’s center of gravity has shifted.

This particular $25 million machine, churning about 100 miles northwest of Houston, in the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area, has drilling systems more powerful than two semi-trucks screaming down the highway, and it can force fluid down a well with more than 100 times the pressure of a fire hose.

All told, it’s capable of supporting a fully-loaded Boeing 747, and it walks the dozen feet between well sites on four 10-ton feet. It can drill an oil well in less than 10 days, shaving more than a week from the average drilling time in 2010, and allowing oil companies to drill a greater number of wells each year.

Just a few years ago, even talking about production cuts would have sent crude prices skyrocketing. This time, when OPEC and other major producers agreed to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels a day into next year, prices fell nearly 5 percent as traders remained unconvinced the move would do much to shrink supplies in the face of rising U.S. production.

“OPEC’s market influence is highly questionable,” said Antoine Halff, director of global oil markets at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. “We spent seven years revising shale forecasts upward because it went up much faster than anyone expected.”

In summary…The market’s cold response underscored just how much clout the cartel has ceded to U.S. oil companies, which found ways to wring a lot more oil from the earth at a profit – even at low prices.

Source: Collin Eaton, “Big rigs pave way for second shale oil boom,” Houston Chronicle, 27 May 2017

Saudi Arabia Oil Riches Decline Force Social Change

Saudi Arabia Amid Change- 95th Issue

Introduction…This blog has been documenting the shift in economic power from OPEC and its partners, to the frackers in the United States.  Even at a $50 per barrel price, plus or minus, U.S. producers have cut production cost nearly in half and billions of dollars are pouring into new production.

But, in Saudi Arabia, the low energy prices have forced painful change even in what may be the world’s most conservative.  Woman are joining the workforce and music can be found in the streets.  Even in what may be the world’s most conservative country. The government has stripped the notorious religious police of their power and the more than 3,000 guardians of morality, who terrorized women for wearing makeup and arrested unmarried couples for walking next to each other on the street, are a rare sight these days.

But what does it mean that Saudi King, the guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, has reined in the feared moral police?  And why have the fundamentalists gone silent rather than lament the loss of values?

Is the fairy tale ending?…The primary reason is the disappearance of Saudi Arabia’s fairy-tale riches. The kingdom is experiencing the deepest crisis since oil first produced in 1938.  The current low prices have led to a 50% drop in revenue.  In 2015, the government budget deficit ballooned to 90 million euros, and the country’s borrowing began.

In conclusion…Saudi Arabia was the pillar in the Middle Eastern order that no longer exists.  This order was destroyed by the Arab Spring, and the wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen (neighboring states.)  Now, Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting over power in the region.  These events are threatening stability in the kingdom.

Source: Susanne Koelbl, “Tasting Freedom.  Saudi Arabia Experiments with Reform Amid Economic Downturn,” Spiegel Online International, 17 May 2017

$25 Trillion Investment Needed

  West Texas Drilling Rig

Introduction...We’ve been documenting the massive cuts in new oil and gas drilling programs.  Now we are seeing the results.  The world needs to invest US$25 trillion in new oil-producing capacity over the next 25 years to meet growing demand, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser said at the World Economic Forum in Davos last Tuesday.

Demand is still healthy and oil “will be with us for decades”, CNBC quoted Nasser as telling a Wall Street Journal panel at the Davos forum. The global oil and gas industry needs to expand and requires more investment, Nasser said.

In summary…Wood Mackienzie sees E&P global spend rise with about 3 percent in 2017 to around $450 billion. According to WoodMac’s Malcolm Dickson, ‘’companies will get more bang for their buck,”as internal rates of return jump from 9 to 16 percent, comparing 2014 to 2017.

Source: Tsvetana Paraskova, $25 Trillion Invesement Needed To Meet Future Oil Demand, OilPrice.com, 17 Jan 2017

Permian Basin Rig Count Explodes

Apache Corp. Drilling In Andrews County, TX

Introduction…The most attractive oil exploration and production region in the United States and perhaps the world has added 101 active drilling rigs since just May 13, 2016. That’s a giantic 84% gain in rigs in just in seven months.

The Permian basin in West Texas and southwestern New Mexico which is 250 miles wide and 300 miles long has become the most attractive drilling region due to the major infrastructure that reduces time and expense to getting oil and gas to the market.

The first commercial oil well in the Permian Basin was completed in 1921 in Mitchell County, on the east side of the basin; completed at a total depth of 2,498 feet, it was the discovery well of the Westbrook field.

With the coming of World War II the need for oil was urgent, and it became economically justified to drill more and deeper tests.

The entire Permian Basin during 1966 produced a total of 607 million barrels of oil and 2.3 trillion cubic feet of gas for a total of $2 billion. A cumulative total of 11.3 billion barrels of oil had been produced.

Conclusion...Intrastate and interstate gas pipeline systems were expanded throughout the area, and Midland-Odessa was the headquarters for the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin area. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on petrochemical refineries and supplemental construction work in the Permian Basin, which was rated the largest inland petrochemical complex in the United States. Is it no wonder the Permian basin is the most attractive oil exploration and production region in the United States and perhaps the world?

Take away...One business that benefits greatly from the new oil exploration and development is the saltwater disposal wells. These properties tend to have a consistent cash flow and a short payback period. Drop me a note if this intrigues you.

Trump Presidency Bullish On Oil & Gas Production

PumpingRigWTexas Pumping Rig W Texas

Introduction…While there are some specifics about President-elect Donald Trump‘s energy policy to be worked out, overall his presidency is “very bullish long term for oil and gas,” Warwick Energy CEO Kate Richard told CNBC on Thursday.

Trump has said he wants to roll back regulations and produce more energy, which he believes will create more wealth for America.

Richard thinks Trump’s economic plan could probably spur economic growth and demand for oil.

“I think the market loves Republican administrations and infrastructure is very bullish for crude and natural gas demand,” she said in an interview with “Power Lunch.”

Trump has promised a massive infrastructure spending program, saying in his victory speech early Wednesday morning he’s going to fix highways bridges, tunnels, airports, schools and hospitals — and put millions of people to work to get it done.

While Richard believes Trump’s energy policy is “interesting,” she noted the whole story can’t be put together yet.

For one, she said talk about repealing Environmental Protection Agency regulations are a little hard to understand.

“We haven’t seen a decline in drilling in this country because of EPA regulations. We’ve seen a decline in drilling in this country because of two years of low prices,” she said.

Conclusion…In Texas, the Texas Railroad Commission is primarily responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry.  One could conclude it has done an amazing job of protecting the public health and promoting the industry.  The primary benefit of a Trump Presidency to the industry may be not be a change in regulations.  Rather the increase in economic activity and infrastructure improvement from his intitatives may drive demand for oil related products.  Howevert, it is reassuring to have a President-Elect who understands that a healthy oil and gas industry is important to the overall economic health of the country,

Source: “Trump presidency bullish long term for oil and gas, energy CEO Says, CNBC, Michaelle Fox, 10 Nov 2016

Amazing West Texas Oil And Gas Discovery

alpine-highAlpine High Oil & Gas Discovery

Introduction…Houston’s Apache Corporation has done the unexpected.  It has made an amazing oil discovery in an area that no one expected.  While much of the West Texas Permian Basin region commands $20,000 per acre,  Apache’s Alpine High was purchased for just $1,300 an acre. This acreage is undeveloped and has no infrastructure.  This contrasts to much of the Permian Basin that is very popular with drillers because it is so well developed.

Most amazing disovery  in decades…Thanks to this major find though, Apache has a lock on what could be one of the most exciting finds in decades.  How exciting you ask?  Apache said it’s accumulated more than 307,000 acres and drilled 19 wells in Alpine High, a small part of the sweeping and energy-rich Permian Basin of Texas.

Further, Apache Corp. believes there could be 3 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in what it calls Alpine High.  The reserves could be worth from $8 billion up to $80 billion by some estimates.

The company has begun drilling in the area for two years and says the early wells, which produce more natural gas than oil, are capable of providing at least a 30% profit margin at today’s prices, including all costs associated with drilling. Some are so prolific that they can break even at a price of 10 cents per million British thermal units, according to the company. Natural gas futures closed last Tuesday at $2.72.

Why does this discovery change the landscape? Apache’s recent oil find highlights what could be a new phase in fracking. To date, fracking in the U.S. had really been all about taking explored basins and drilling new wells to get at previously untapped resources. That strategy worked well when oil prices were more than $80 a barrel. At today’s prices though, drilling the old style rigs in mostly depleted fields to get at residual layers of black gold is a money losing strategy. Apache’s find shows that money can be made by taking risks and looking for major new finds in areas that had been passed over previously.

In conclusion…Apache Corporation has struck a world-class oil and gas discovery in a region that no one expected.  This clay-ridden region of the Permian Basin was believed to have little value.  The company has increased it’s 2016 capital spending by $200 million to a full-year capital of approximately $2 billion.

Sources: Michael McDonald, September 15, 2016, Why Apache’s Latest Oil Find Is Such A Game Changer, OilPrice, OilPrice.com; David Koenig, September 7, 2016, Apache may have struck big in West Texas, PowerSource, http://powersource.post-gazette.com

Oil Price Spike Inescapable

offshorerig

Bill’s note: We’ve been reporting in the oilandgasinsider.com since the beginning of 2016, that the massive cuts in new capital expenditiures for oil and gas exploration would lead to oil price hikes.  Now the results of those expenditiure cuts are appearing in new oil discoveries.

 CASUAL ATTIRE

Oil price spike inescapable and here’s the facts…

  • 2015 new oil discoveries are 1/10th annual average dating all the way back to 1947
  • 2015 Oil industry new discoveries are only 2.7 billion barrels
  • 2015 worldwide oil consumption at 35 billion barrels

Click here to watch the 3 minute video Oil Price Spike Inescapable.

Why do we have the largest oil consumption deficit in 69 years?

  1. Oil at less than $50 a barrel makes many fields around the world uneconomical to explore
  2. The oil industry has slashed $1 trillion in new investment from 2015 to 2026
  3. EIA expects oil demand to expand to 105 million barrels per day by 2026 up from the current demand of 94 mb/d
  4. Large scale high volume drilling like deepwater projects have been scraped
  5. Large scale projects take years to be productive

In conclusion…Supply could  fall 1.5 billion barrels short per year by 2018 to 2020.  If this does play out, then…

Oil Price Spike Is Inescapable

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References; Wood Mckeszie, Energy Information Agency, , Oil Price Spike Inevitable, By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com, August 30, 2016

Click here to watch the 3 minute video Oil Price Spike Inescapable.

Jump In U.S. Oil & Gas Rig Count Impact

oilwelldrillbigLast week the  U.S. oil and gas rig count increased by 15 to a total of 462.  Canada rig count up seven to new total of 102 according to Baker Hughes report.

The biggest gains were in Texas where 15 new rigs were brought online with the Permian Basin adding eight.

At the time the rig count was released, West Texas Intermediate was trading at $43.94, but slumped by $.83 midday Friday.

In conclusion…The decline in price is attributed to a ramp-up in drilling fields that are profitable with oil below $50 per barrel, adding to supply surplus.

Serious Oil Field Worker Shortage…Soon?

oil-workers

Goldman Sachs believes the American oil industry is about to stage a big comeback from the painful downturn and big job losses caused by oversupply.  A projected 100,000 oil jobs could be coming back.

The estimate is based on Goldman’s forecast for U.S. oil production to resume growing next year after the recent drop to two-year lows. That growth would require some 700 oil rigs to be added — and each one supports an average of 120 to 150 employees.

As more oil fields come on line and America’s oil boom gets back on track, there simply won’t be enough people to do the required drilling, well completion and other logistical work. Cheap oil wiped out nearly 170,000 oil and gas jobs since late 2014 as desperate companies scrambled to cut costs and avoid bankruptcy. This downturn was far worse than the 87,000 jobs wiped out during the last downturn in the middle of the Great Recession.

Jeff Bush, president of oil and gas recruiting firm CSI Recruiting, agrees that a “worker shortage” is coming.

“When we get back to a reasonable level of activity, there’s going to be a supply crisis of experienced personnel. I just don’t see any way around that,” said Bush.

In conclusion…Last week in this publication we discussed  “U.S. Now The Largest Global Oil Reserve.”  Somehow the industry will need to take better care of those skilled workers if they want to keep them over the long-term. The drastic swing in oil prices has extremely painful for those workers who grow accustomed to the high salaries.  Every downturn flushes out a large number of highly skilled workers.