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With recovery of global economy still uncertain, oilfield services must stay agile, seek new ways to adapt

Forecast for gradual increase in oil demand signals potential for comeback in 2021, but low spending levels likely to plague OFS for at least 3-4 years By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor The global economy has been devastated since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic in March. Financial markets crashed. Governments around the world locked down their countries. Millions of people lost their jobs, and many others have had to deal with disruptions at their work place. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the global economy will shrink by 4.9% this year, the worst decline since the Great Depression. Next year, IMF expects the world’s GDP to grow by just 5.4%. That projection is 6.5% ...

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Geothermal energy holds great potential, but technical, regulatory challenges must be overcome

Optimizing development timelines through streamlined environmental review processes could help lower costs, increase available opportunities for drillers By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor Last year, the US Department of Energy (DOE) released a report estimating that geothermal electricity generation capacity has the potential to increase to more than 60 GW by 2050. That would be a nearly 2,600% increase over 2019 levels and would represent 8.5% of US energy generation. Clearly, geothermal energy has vast potential as a low-carbon solution, and it utilizes much of the same drilling infrastructure currently used in the oilfield. However, to realize that potential, a significant amount of risk in geothermal development projects must be overcome, in both technical and non-technical aspects, and costs must be ...

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US land drilling faces long road to recovery

Increase in onshore rig count is likely to be minimal next year as E&P companies will remain cash-strapped and favor conservative spending By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor Around this time a year ago, US onshore drilling appeared to be in a tough spot, with analysts projecting drops in the rig count and a slowdown in production as operators continued to prioritize cash flow. Still, no one could have predicted the events that followed. The COVID-19 pandemic and the oil price crash threw a significant wrench in nearly every facet of the industry, even more so than the 2014-2015 downturn. Onshore operators responded with massive CAPEX cuts in the first months of the year. Then, largely due to shut-ins and curtailments, ...

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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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