Signs of better times ahead ///

As the smoke clears from 2009, the impact of the previous year’s financial meltdown on the oil and gas industry can clearly be seen. It became obvious fairly early that our prediction last February of a 20% reduction in US drilling was too optimistic. By our mid-year revision in the August issue of World Oil, we were much closer to the truth, with an estimate of 37,966 wells drilled in the US. According to state permitting agencies and other data, there were actually 37,204 wells drilled in 2009, a 32% drop from 2008. However, the “second Great Depression” predicted by some doomsday prophets never materialized, and recovering oil prices—and, to a lesser extent, gas—are allowing operators to plan for a better year to come.

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