Category Archives: Permian Basin

Sustainable Energy – Opportunity To Clean Produced Water

 Issue 114 – Cleaning 500,000 gallons of produced water in Midland, TX

What is produced water?  

Produced water is water found in the same formations as oil and gas. When the oil and gas flow to the surface, the produced water is brought to the surface with the hydrocarbons. Produced water contains some of the chemical characteristics of the formation from which it was produced and from the associated hydrocarbons.

Produced water may originate as natural water in the formations holding oil and gas or can be water that was previously injected into those formations through activities designed to increase oil production.

Why is produced water an opportunity waiting for a solution?

  1. The United States has 1 million producing oil and gas wells and nearly everyone generates water.  The sheer volume of produced water is staggering.  During 2012 (the most recent year data is available) is 21.2 billion barrels or 890 billion gallons was produced. Ninety-seven percent (97%( of the water was produced in 21 states with Texas generating one-third of the total produced water.  Just pumping that water back down is a waste of a tremendous resource.
  2. Water resources are declining especially in West Texas and the Western United States. Cleaning and reusing produced water is a  very sound sustainable energy practice.
  3. Oklahoma Regulators issued new limits to produced water being pumped underground.  Recent study links produced water to the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in Oklahoma.

What are the produced water solutions?  Two processes discussed.

#1. In Midland, Texas Gradient Technology is being used to clean 500,000 gallons of water per day.  The Midland plant is proving more economical than the old strategy of re-injecting produced water back into the wells while purchasing clean water for the fracking operations.

The project is being joint ventured with Pioneer Natural Resources.  Pioneer claims it is able to re-use nearly 100% of its produced water and recycles 85% of the heat needed to keep the system running.

#2. Our American Mud Works, LLC project in Ohio will be using a ceramic membrane process that has low requirements of preliminary treatment with minimum need for support and maintenance.

Ceramic materials are very stable chemically, thermally, and mechanically.  The benefit to the operator is no additives are needed and the process is not temperature sensitive.  Filtration with ceramic is a mild process with running cost limited by a closed production cycles and continuous process.

American Mud Works expects to clean 9,000 barrels (378,000 gallons) of water and 3,500 barrels (147,000 gallons) of high-value drilling mud per day with this first installation.

in summary.

The oilfield industry is being pushed by regulators and possible lawsuits to adopt sustainable energy practices.  In locations of water shortages, such practice is imperative.  However, at least in the case of Pioneer Natural Resources in Midland, Texas, re-use of produced water is more economical than the old strategy.

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

Texas Refineries Prepare To Reopen – Gasoline Falls

 Issue 109 – Marathon Petroleum Refinery In Houston

Introduction...Wednesday night the reports came out that Texas would have gasoline shortage.  Thursday the lines started forming at the gas stations.  I needed gas, but decided to wait until Friday when the lines would be gone.  Well, the lines were gone, but so was the gasoline.  I went to a dozen stations before i found a Walmart that had gas.  The station was hidden behind a retaining wall, so the motorists emptied the Racetrac across the street.

By Sunday, I saw several of these gas stations were refueled and selling again.

What happened?  After rising 25% last month, gasoline prices fell for first time in two weeks as impact of Hurricane Harvey impact assessed.  Some Texas Gulf refineries have opened Saturday including Exxon Mobil 560,500 barrel per day (bpd) Baytown facility, the second largest oil refinery.  Several others are preparing to restart its refineries this week include Citgo Petroleum 157,500 bpd refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Phillips 66 is preparing to resume operations at its 247,000 bpd facility in Baytown, Texas.

Another positive change for the oil industry is Occidental Petroleum has re-opened its Ingleside, Texas which is a key export hub for Permian Basin oil producers.

About 4.4 million barrels a day of U.S. refining remains closed.  The Strategic Petroleum Reserve will supply 1 million barrels of crude to the Gulf Coast plant.

Saturday, the volume of offshore U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude production still shut in declined to about 160,000 bpd.

Nearly half of U.S. refining capacity is located in the Gulf Coast region located near crude oil supplies from Texas oil fields.  Most major Texas ports remained closed to large vessels, limiting offloading imported crude.

In summary…While the Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Houston and the Gulf Coast has been horrific, the Texas oil production and crude refining facilities are being restored at a rapid pace.

Shale Expansion Dominates Competition

U.S Shale oil drilling rig

Introduction…U.S. Shale drilling budgets increases ten times faster than the rise of international oil companies’ budgets. This as OPEC is meeting May 25th to decide to continue production cuts.

U.S. shale producers are taking advantage of the production cut that OPEC and 11 non-OPEC nations struck in mid-November.

The comparison…Drillers in North America plan a combined capital expenditure of US$84 billion this year, an increase of 32 percent compared to last year, according to Barclays analysts, quoted by Bloomberg.

By comparison, the budget programs for international projects are seen up just 3 percent in 2017, Barclays reckons. Among the five supermajors, it’s only Exxon that is planning higher capital spending this year, of US$22 billion, up by 16 percent from 2016. The other four are either keeping investment budgets flat, or as in Chevron’s case, are reducing the expenditure.

“The level of capital budget increases really surprised us,” Wood Mackenzie research analyst in Houston, Roy Martin, told Bloomberg in a phone interview.

“The specter of American supply is real,” he noted.

In summary…The U.S. shale spending plans and growing production highlight the difficult position in which OPEC is caught – while the cartel is cutting production and trying to talk oil prices up, the shale drillers are reaping profits from the most profitable plays (hey, Permian) and reinvesting them in increased capital programs to pump more.

Reference:  Tsvetana Paraskova, “U.S. Shale Spending Dwarfs Competition: Grows 10 Times Faster,” OilPrice.com, 11 May 2017

No Longer Dependent On OPEC?

Results Of 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo

Introduction…The 1973-1974 OPEC Oil Embargo on the United States caused the price of oil to nearly double, high inflation, high unemployment, and shortage of gasoline resulting in long lines at the service station.  The pledge of nearly every U.S. President since President Richard Nixon has been U.S. energy independence.

Click here to watch the video that demonstrates this shift in economic dependence.

Let’s briefly review a few of the oilandgasinsider.com articles that demonstrates this shift in economic dependence.

  1. Texas Oil & Gas Production in Expansion Cycle
  2. Why Billions Are Pouring Into U.S. Shale
  3. Private equity funds raised $19.8 Billion for US oil ventures first quarter
  4. Even though price is still around $50 per barrel because producers have slashed up to ½ the cost of pumping oil from 2 years ago, making new production profitable
  5. OPEC On The Brink of Collapse
  6. Russia Cutting Production as U.S. Shale Escalates
  7. Dumping Billions in Canadian Assets For Permian Basin
  8. Marathon acquired 70,000 acres in Permian and 51,500 acres for $1.1 Billion
  9. Why Major Oil Company Goes Big On US Shale- ExxonMobile –major oil companies all but abandoned new US production several decades ago.
  10. Texas Fifth Straight Double Digit Jump in oil rig count on February 7, 2017
  11. Nearly $1 Trillion Worth Of Oil Found In Texas, Largest Deposit Ever Discovered In US.
  12. Permian Basin producing oil and gas since 1920 so infrastructure is well developed reducing production costs. And some are still claiming the largest deposit ever discovered in the US

Conclusion…The United States did oust Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer May 2016.  However, Saudi Arabia regained that title four months later. But, just as important, the United States holds 264 billion barrels of oil of which one-half is in shale.  This total exceeds both Russia and Saudi Arabia.

To conclude the U.S. is “No Longer Dependent on OPEC” may be true finally after 45 years of Presidents pledging to make the United States energy independent.  This is Bill Moist, MS, CPA

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Texas Oil & Gas Expansion Cycle

Texas Oil & Gas Expansion

Introduction…Crude oil and natural gas drilling and development in Texas has embarked upon a new cycle of expansion, according to the latest Texas Petro Index (TPI), which improved to 160.4 in March to post its fourth straight monthly increase.

Expansion is here…Driving the TPI upward during first quarter 2017 were crude oil and natural gas prices, drilling activity, the number of drilling permits issued, and the value of statewide oil and gas production, which were all higher compared to year-ago levels. However, the TPI is only about half the value of the record TPI of 313.5 in November 2014, and it still has not caught up in some other economic arenas.

Employment is increasing, but it still lags behind last year after the loss of well over 100,000 upstream jobs, said Ingham. An estimated 9,000 jobs have been added back since reaching the low point in September 2016.

Conclusion…”We still have a long way to go,” Ingham said, “but 2017 is going to be a year of recovery and expansion in the Texas statewide oil and gas exploration and production economy. “Activity levels will continue to expand, jobs will continue to be added, and the industry will support the broader state economy again, rather than acting as a drag on growth as it has for the prior two years.”

Source: “Oil and gas economy in Texas enters expansion cycle,” Oil & Gas Journal, 20 April 2017

Dumping Billions In Canadian Assets For Premian Basin

Permian Basin Assets Replaced Canadian Assets

Introduction…Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO) is selling its Canadian subsidiary, including the company’s 20 percent non-operated interest in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, to Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. for around $2.5 billion in cash, according to a March 9 release.

Additionally, Marathon scooped up 70,000 acres in the Permian Basin from Midland, Texas-based BC Operating Inc. in a deal worth about $1.1 billion, per the release. That includes about 51,500 acres in the Northern Delaware Basin portion of the Permian.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Shell announced it’s selling all of its Canadian oil-sands projects for around $7.25 billion. Shell will keep a 10 percent interest in Athabasca with Canadian Natural (NYSE: CNQ). Meanwhile, Irving, Texas-based rival Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) recently said production wasn’t profitable in the region and removed around 3.3 billion barrels of oil from its stated reserves, much of which was attributed to the oil sands, the WSJ reports.

In conclusion... Canadian oil sands are falling out of favor with majors due to its high production costs.  On the other hand, Permian Basin oil and gas production is highly favored due to its relatively low production cost and its well established iinfrastructure .

Permian Basin is also favored by our partners who are purchasing saltwater disposal wells due to increased production of water from the new oil production.

Why Major Oil Company Goes Big On US Shale

 Apache Oil Co. Drilling Near Davis Mountains

Introduction…A major oil company does big on US shale drilling.  Here’s why.

Exxon goes big on U.S. shale. New ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) CEO Darren Woods gave his first presentation to investors this week, where he outlined a strategy to step up investment in U.S. shale.

Exxon will allocate a quarter of its 2017 budget to short-cycle shale projects. The move will help the oil major navigate an uncertain market, as cash can be returned to the company much quicker from shale drilling than it can from the major offshore projects that Exxon has long been accustomed to.

Still, Exxon will move forward aggressively on its large offshore discovery in Guyana, hoping to bring it online in the next few years.

Conclusion…It’s quicker positive cash flow that brings ExxonMobil to shale oil production.  Even a company this big wants a quicker return on its capital expenditures.

Texas Fifth Straight Double-Digit Jump

The boom continues in The Permian Basin

Introduction: The US drilling rig count rose by double digits for the fifth consecutive week during the week ended Feb. 17.

Data from Baker Hughes Inc. shows the tally of active rigs gained 10 units to 751, an increase of 347 units since a modern era nadir of 404 touched last May 27 (OGJ Online, Feb. 10, 2017). In the last 2 months alone, the count has risen by 114 units.

Onshore rigs climbed by 13 to 730, with horizontal units up 7 to 614 and directional units up 6 to 72. The horizontal count has expanded by 300 since May 27.

The US offshore count dropped 3 units to 18 as it approaches lows not seen since the aftermath of the Macondo deepwater well blowout and crude oil spill. Three rigs remain drilling in inland waters.

Given the Permian’s overall increased drilling activity, the US Energy Information Administration forecasts Permian oil production to rise 70,000 b/d month-over-month in March to 2.25 million b/d (OGJ Online, Feb. 13, 2017). As of January, the basin boasted a suite of 1,757 drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells, an increase of 84 from the December total.

EIA projects the Eagle Ford to record a 14,000-b/d month-over-month increase in March to 1.077 million b/d, marking the South Texas region’s first rise in Drilling Productivity Report data since late 2015. Its tally of DUC wells during January gained 11 month-over-month to 1,255.

In summary for Texas:  Texas is the only oil- and gas-producing state to record an increase with the exception Utah during the week, rising 1 unit to 6. The Permian Basin is driving much of the new drilling activity in Texas and the U.S.

Source: Matt Zborowski, “BHI: US rig count makes fifth straight double-digit jump, Oil & Gas Journal, 17 Feb. 2017

Coming Oil Shortage In 2017?

Oil shortage…Global oil markets will swing from surplus to deficit in the first half of 2017 as OPEC and other producers follow through on an agreement to cut supply, according to the International Energy Agency.

Oil stockpiles will decline by about 600,000 barrels a day in the next six months as curbs by OPEC and its partners take effect, said the agency, which had previously assumed inventories wouldn’t drop until the end of 2017. Russia, the biggest producer outside OPEC to join the deal, will gradually implement the full reduction it promised, according to the IEA.

Oil has gained about 17 percent since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Nov. 30 to trim output for the first time in eight years, an accord expanded on Dec. 10 with the participation of 11 non-members including Russia and Kazakhstan.

“Before the agreement among producers, our demand and supply numbers suggested that the market would re-balance by the end of 2017,” the Paris-based agency said in its monthly market report. “If OPEC promptly and fully sticks to its production target” and other producers cut as agreed, “the market is likely to move into deficit in the first half of 2017.”

Stockpile declines…The stockpile declines will only occur if OPEC reduces supply enough to meet and maintain a target of about 32.7 million barrels a day, the agency said. The organization pumped a record 34.2 million a day in November, making the cut required to reach its target even bigger, according to the IEA, which advises 29 nations on energy policy.

In summary…There are some signs the market is already starting to tighten. While inventories of crude and refined oil in industrialized nations remain 300 million barrels above their five-year average, they dropped for a third month in October, the longest run of declines since 2011, according to the IEA.

Source: Grant Smith, OPEC Deal To Create Oil-Supply Deficit Next Half, IEA Says, Bloomberg, 13 December 2016; Jeremiah Carver, From oil glut to oil deficit in 2017, Oilpro.com, 13, December 2016

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.