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Workforce outlook: Industry must consider new strategies to attract, retain next-generation employees

Comparing the perceptions of oil and gas executives with those of young people, it can be seen that there are some disconnects. On-the-job happiness, for example, was cited by 37% of young people to be among their top three job considerations, but only 18% of executives think young people prioritize it. Graphics Courtesy of EY.

The oil and gas workforce has shrunken considerably as a result of the global downturn. An April 2017 Rystad Energy report found that the top 50 oilfield service companies, including drilling contractors, had eliminated 300,000 upstream jobs worldwide since 2014. This represented a devastating 35% of the total workforce at these 50 companies...

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Global land rig demand recovers, offshore still seeking inflection point

Figure 6: The active rig count in Canada rose to 155 in 2017, up from last year’s 91. Utilization improved to 24%.

One year after setting record lows for utilization, the land rig markets in North America have seen a remarkable recovery. In the US, onshore rig demand surged by 105% to 976 active units, compared with 476 in the previous year. In Canada, there were 155 active land rigs during the census period, an increase of 65% over last year’s 94 units. Nevertheless, fleet utilization in both countries remain below normal at 46% (US) and 24% (Canada). Many lower-spec rigs are expected to exit the available fleet next year, as operators continue to give preference to higher-specification pad-capable rigs for development of onshore unconventional resources...

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No quick recovery in the cards for 2018

US land is likely to remain one of very few bright spots among the world’s drilling markets in 2018. Photo Courtesy of Hess Corp.

Most forecasts call for oil prices to stay within the $45-$55 range next year as global oil production stays high despite OPEC’s agreed cuts By Linda Hsieh, Managing Editor Stability, not a quick recovery, may be where the drilling industry has to turn for comfort in 2018. Oil prices, which will likely average around $50 this year, are mostly forecast to stay within the $45 to $55 range next year. It isn’t until at least the second half of 2018 or perhaps 2019 that some upward price pressures may enter the market. Oil inventories, global energy consumption and OPEC’s decision on whether to extend its production cuts beyond March 2018 are all being closely watched. For the drilling sector specifically, ...

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In Brazil, it’s two steps forward, one step back

Queiroz Galvão (QGEP) workers lower a wet X-tree into the post-salt Atlanta field, the current prospect on Block BS-4 in Brazil’s Santos Basin. The operator and its partners Barra Energia and OGX have drilled two horizontal wells so far and plan to drill a third in 2018. The consortium is now awaiting the arrival of an FPSO in January. First oil is expected soon thereafter. Photo courtesy of QGeP.

Even as progress is made in opening the presalt and reducing local content requirements, new corruption charges embroil the president, threatening to slow ongoing reforms related to taxes, environmental licensing By Linda Hsieh, Managing Editor The near-term outlook for the Brazilian drilling market is bleak. As of August, there were only 29 offshore drilling rigs contracted to Petrobras – currently still the only operator with active offshore rigs in the country. That number compares with 36 offshore rigs last year, 52 in 2015 and 67 in 2014, said Liz Tysall, Senior Offshore Rig Analyst for consulting firm Rystad Energy. The near-term outlook for the Brazilian drilling market is bleak. As of August, there were only 29 offshore drilling rigs contracted ...

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Small signs hint at possible recovery in still-sluggish North Sea

The ENSCO 120 jackup is scheduled to begin a three-year drilling program in the North Sea in July. It was the first rig equipped with Ensco’s Canti-Leverage Advantage system, which enhances the rig’s hoisting capacity at the farthest reaches of the cantilever when the rig is fully skidded out, leading to fewer rig moves on multiwell programs.

Although the North Sea drilling market is still quite a ways from what one might call healthy, small signs of recovery are starting to sprout. Several operators, for example, have publicly touted significant reductions in their breakeven costs for offshore projects – from Maersk Oil’s $40-45 range for pre-FID projects to Statoil’s $27 for pre-FID Norwegian Shelf projects...

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Fulfilling the need for speed: Drill bit designs drilling further, faster

The third iteration of Baker Hughes’ Kymera PDC roller cone hybrid drill bit has been given a sharper and more dense cutting structure to boost ROP and durability in hard carbonates and interbedded rock.

Modern drill bits have improved exponentially over the past several years, but operators continue to raise the bar in terms of expectations for more efficiency and durability. From horizontal wells in North American shales to Middle Eastern wells with 3,000- to 6,500-ft sections and even some deepwater wells using rotary steerable systems, operators now oftentimes expect to drill entire hole sections without tripping out for a new bit. “More than 60% of the sections drilled around the world today are already done with one bit, which means that the primary way to reduce customers’ drilling costs in those sections is to significantly increase ROP,” said Allen White, Product Champion at Smith Bits, a Schlumberger company.

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