Issue: December 2014

Special Focus

What industry leaders expect for 2015

The year 2014 has been a period of not only great profitability for the global upstream industry but also a time of considerable volatility.


Regional report: China

China is the predominant player on both the demand and supply sides of the global oil and gas industry.

Demand for more wells, more footage with fewer rigs drives drill bit design

With oil prices softening, the pressure to get more out of each well, and longer life out of every bit, will only increase.

ShaleTech: Permian Basin

Multi-zone play chugs on amid lower prices

Test proppants to mitigate respirable dust hazards

Sand generates respirable dust comprising crystalline silica, which is a concern for the hydraulic fracturing industry.

Liner-less technology enhances wellsite spill containment

Increased onshore drilling activity means an increased risk of spills that can occur at the well site—spills that can harm the environment and pose safety issues.

Hard stats show greener oil and gas in Italy

As the quantifying of environmental impacts becomes increasingly important for the oil and gas industry, a report from Golder Associates commends Italy’s environmental performance.

Activist efforts to regulate the industry go “local”

Not satisfied with their efforts on a national, federal scale, environmental and other anti-industry activists have begun to focus on the local level, in their attempt to block the U.S. shale oil and gas revolution


First oil

Precarious present, uncertain future

Drilling advances

When your well speaks, listen

Energy issues

Tell me it ain’t so

Executive viewpoint—Dixon

Taking safety to the next level

Innovative thinkers

Horizontal wells: A standard for today

Offshore in depth

Bifurcation and belt-tightening for offshore drillers

Oil and gas in the capitals

How robust is Norway’s petroleum industry?

The last barrel

A new era dawns in U.S. Congress for E&P industry

What's new in exploration

SEG stimulates debates on data, technology and mammal monitoring

What's new in production

Hydraulic fracturing helps the geothermal industry build up steam

Executive viewpoint—Bennett

New EU Directive recognizes regime model for safe offshore operations

News & Resources

Companies in the news

Companies in the news

Industry at a glance

Industry at a glance

Meeting and events

Meeting and events

New products and services

New products and services

People in the industry

People in the industry

World of oil and gas

World of oil and gas

Enter the era of intelligent well integrity

Efforts to build the intelligent oil field have been underway for more than a decade. Advances have been made on a number of fronts, driven by real needs, perceived future needs and notable failures. No driver has been more visible than the Macondo incident.

Social license to operate needed

The North American shale revolution has completely changed the visibility of oil and gas operations, throughout the world. Shale development is attractive for most countries, because it can increase domestic supply (with the potential for exports) and displace the use of coal or liquid hydrocarbons. The economic impact (job creation, capital expenditures, revenues to the state) provides positive benefits. Two of the most impressive benefits include the economic impact of low-cost natural gas on the economy, and the sharp decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, due to decreased reliance on coal-fired power plants.

Barbarians at the gate

“The government, flush with wealth, is expected to be generous. When the price of that commodity drops, a government which would remain in power dare not cut back on this generosity.”—Daniel Yergin, The Prize

Carousel of Unconventional Progress

In 1971, Walt Disney World held its grand opening in Florida. My entire family was there on that day, and, for many years to follow, we made our annual pilgrimage to the Magic Kingdom. While it was loads of fun, many of the attractions were educational and designed to inspire. For me, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland was a pivotal attraction. The Carousel of Progress depicts a typical American family and explores the joys of living through technological advances across different time periods, including speculation about how these improvements might continue into the future.

UK Continental Shelf at a crossroads

The UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is at a crossroads in its long-term evolution, as recent measures of activity present a mixed picture. Production has been falling at a brisk pace, reaching 1.45 MMboed in 2013. This is far below the peak of 4.5 MMboed in 1999. This is due to several factors, particularly the natural and inevitable decline in output from mature fields, the falling, average size of new field discoveries and development, and the fall in production efficiency. Production efficiency is the ratio of output to the maximum attainable rate, taking into account the need for regular maintenance. This ratio has fallen from 81% in 2004 to 61% in 2012, and reflects the substantial increase in downtime from technical problems in producing facilities. This problem is present in very old, and not-so-old, platforms.

Chevron in 2015: A few insights

As I sit down to consider 2015, Chevron’s upstream portfolio is poised for continued growth through projects around the world. Our resource base is large and diverse, providing us flexibility to react to market conditions. We have a strong balance sheet and the capacity to fund attractive growth opportunities—even in times of lower crude prices.

The downturn is also an opportunity

The words of Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même,” or in the approximate English translation, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” resonate for me, especially today. Our industry, particularly in North America, has gone through a great resurgence with the growth in unconventional reservoir production.

Pulling the brakes

Exactly one year ago, I reported on a blooming international oil and gas industry, at an all-time-high investment and activity level. At the same time, I warned against over-heated markets and some dark clouds on the horizon. Now, one year later, the clouds are here!

2015: More politically friendly, but less economically secure

Like every year, 2015 will bring its share of surprises and unpredictable events. A year ago, the politics of the mid-term elections dominated much of the energy-related discussion. Notice I said “discussion,” because decisions were hard to come by, with a divided Congress and White House.

Our best days lie ahead

Oil prices in the world market hit a three-year low during November, but that has not inhibited the enthusiasm and positive long-term outlook for the energy industry. The surge in U.S. production has changed the game for the national economy and reset the world stage. The recent drop in prices represents a shift of market fundamentals adjusting to a new, abundant supply. It also signals the growing strength of the United States’ hand.

Thoughts on oil and gas prices

Got volatility!? The topic du jour is crude oil. As I write this article, West Texas Intermediate oil prices are $75/bbl, Brent is below $80/bbl, and the collective energy business is holding its breath after OPEC failed to cut production quotas during its Nov. 27 meeting. We have not had to worry about a cut since 2009, and OPEC watchers are coming out of the woodwork. The reality, unless you have Saudi oil minister Al-Naimi’s cell phone number, you are just another member of the OPEC guessing club.

Life as an entrepreneur: Is it for you?

My life as an entrepreneur—it couldn’t be better or more challenging. Entrepreneur; noun, [ahn-truh-pruh-nur,-noo rz; a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. Yes, I am once again a small business owner, hoping to do something significant. A short case study of my most recent start-up will hopefully provide insights into whether entrepreneurship is for you.

International Offshore Rigs

International Offshore Rigs

International Rotary Drilling Rigs

International Rotary Drilling Rigs Graph

International Rotary Rig Count

International Rotary Rig Count

Rotary Rigs Running in US

Rotary Rigs Running in US

Selected World Oil Prices

Selected World Oil Prices Graph

US Gas Prices ($/MCF) & Production (BCFD)

Monthly US Gas Prices and Trends ($/Mcf)

U.S. Oil Production

U.S. Oil Production

U.S. Onshore Well Count

U.S. Onshore Well Count

U.S. Rotary Drilling Rigs Graph

U.S. Rotary Drilling Rigs Graph

Workover Rig Count

Workover Rig Count

World Oil and NGL Production

World Oil and NGL Production Table
Special Supplement

Drilling rig advances 2014

Deeper, faster, safer, cheaper—the demands on drilling rigs are huge, unrelenting and, sometimes, even contradictory.

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