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Pressures amp up as rig counts keep falling

Amid low prices and a vast oil oversupply, drilling industry may need to look to strategic partnerships and diversification for survival By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor As the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic drag on and the reality of a much-lower-for-longer environment really sets in, oilfield companies are recognizing that finding a path to survival has become more critical than ever. The WTI price has shown some slight improvement since its crash in late April, reaching $40.73 on 22 June. While this price still reflects a 36% drop from the 2020 high – $63.05 on 3 January – it is much closer to the mid-$40s, where the WTI averaged in the first week of March. That was just before ...

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Unlocking the power of machine learning

Predictive algorithms and natural language processing are fast becoming valuable tools fueling improvements for operators and drilling contractors in remote BOP monitoring, human decision making, safety By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor As drillers adapt their rigs and workflows for optimized performance and improved safety amid the continuing oilfield digital transformation, a host of tech developers are coming up with new solutions based on innovations in the field of machine learning and natural language processing (NLP). One of these companies is RigNet, which was already established in building AI-based data analytic applications for drilling. Last year, the company signed two multi-year agreements with Transocean to provide rig analytic applications through Intelie Live, a real-time analytics platform developed by subsidiary Intelie. The ...

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New systems take holistic approach to optimize frac efficiency, well performance

Real-time fluid tracking, expanded sensor technology and predictive system among innovations aiming for greater efficiencies at frac sites By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor As US shale plows through a period of uncertainty in the midst of a global pandemic, the search for efficiencies at the margins has become even more critical for companies active in hydraulic fracturing operations. “Given everything we’re seeing right now, with the price of oil dropping and Russia and Saudi Arabia going at it to the point of trying to ruin US shale, operators have to be clamoring for everything they can do to save every dollar,” said David Moore, President and CEO of Deep Imaging. “We’re still going to have to frac. It’s not like ...

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US shale drilling positions for survival

As oil prices tumble to stomach-churning lows and E&Ps slash CAPEX budgets one after another, drilling contractors turn their focus to business sustainability in preparation for further drops in the rig count By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor The COVID-19 pandemic has sent shock waves through the industry over the past couple of months. As the global economy ground to a halt, the outlook for US shale and land drilling has become much less certain. Operators and drilling contractors have scrambled to position themselves for the long haul as best as they can. In a market that was already oversupplied, energy demand has now fallen off a cliff, although the full impact will depend on the duration of the pandemic and ...

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Drilling supply chain pressures mount amid pandemic disruptions

Drilling contractors emphasize risk management and enhanced communications to ensure operational continuity across rig fleets By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor The global outbreak of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the drilling business, with an oil price crash and lower activity levels leaving drillers with a difficult landscape to navigate. However, despite operators’ pullback and limitations placed on people’s movement, many drilling sites remain active around the world. Regardless of the pandemic, those projects still need equipment and personnel to ensure continued safety and performance. On a surface level, supply chain management has not been significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Representatives from several drilling companies told DC that they have prioritized continuity, but the shift to work-from-home has not impacted ...

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2019 NOV census shows robust international land rig utilization but softening in North America onshore

Except for harsh-environment semis, global offshore fleet continues to see a very slow recovery, although 69% utilization is the highest it’s been since 2015 By Tony Crawford, Tarjei Myklebust and Aylar Ibrahimoglu, National Oilwell Varco Rig demand in this year’s National Oilwell Varco census has shifted in both areas of geographic activity and in rig type. Late 2017 and 2018 demonstrated promising improvements in global land utilization rates and modest recovery in offshore drilling. 2019 can be characterized by strong international rig utilization and demand for land, steadily improving demand for offshore and weakening demand for land rigs in North America. Offshore rig demand in North America is improving slightly, but it has yet to see the type of growth ...

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Cost-per-barrel focus propels frac advances

Adoption of dissolvable plugs grows as operators seek to eliminate drill-outs; switch to lower-cost in-basin sand also moves into high gear By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher As E&P companies continue to prioritize and invest in unconventional resources, service companies are following suit, pursuing rapid development and evolution of completion technologies to meet operators’ increasing demands. In particular, longer laterals and more complex well designs are driving the adoption of dissolvable technologies, which continue to mature as companies learn how and where they should be used to achieve the best results. Frac plugs that help to improve fluid efficiency when they’re pumped downhole are also leading to reductions in water usage, an important challenge in the Eagle Ford and Permian ...

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