Issue: February 2021
On his first day as President, Biden recommitted the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement, rescinded the construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and ordered federal agencies to begin reinstating over 100 environmental regulations rolled back by Trump—including ones governing methane leaks from O&G wells and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from vehicle tailpipes.
The oil and gas business had an exceedingly difficult time in 2020. There are signs that activity may be improving, but it’s hard to compare against a year that felt like rock bottom, and to forecast in the shadow of a pandemic.
Worldwide E&P expenditures should increase 6.8% in 2021, recovering partially from a 25.3% collapse in 2020. The first coordinated global upturn since 2018 will be led by a stronger rebound in select International regions.
A meaningful recovery in U.S. drilling activity during 2021 will be hampered further by President Biden’s Executive Order that indefinitely blocks new leases and drilling permits on federal lands and waters for up to a year.
U.S. rig counts crash to historic lows
Despite an historically low, 54% decline in drilling activity, U.S. oil production was down just 7.6% on a year-over-year basis, averaging 11.318 MMbopd in 2020. The loss in U.S. output could have been more drastic, but OPEC+ did a masterful job of curtailing production during the year to support benchmark prices.
U.S. proved reserves effectively unchanged
Following a tumultuous 2020, global drilling rates outside the U.S. are a bit of a mixed bag for 2021. Lingering economic effects from shutdowns and travel restrictions are impeding recovery in regions like Africa and Eastern Europe, while Western Europe and South America are finding their stride.
Four recent case studies document how an advanced seismic inversion workflow, which integrates geoscience data, enables operators to enhance their reservoir characterization interpretation.
ShaleTech Report: Tuning unconventional reservoir performance with geoscience-guided completion strategies
As operating efficiencies near a plateau in North American shale basins, a renewed focus on geoscience offers new strategies to further lower total cost/bbl. Selective application of measurements to provide visibility on reservoir variability encountered in laterals improves decision-making to maximize ROI on completion spend.
Stung by previously bullish price scenarios that were wrongly projected to sustain beyond the seasonal winter spikes, Appalachian gas producers are in no hurry to exponentially increase production, essentially brushing off improving fundamentals.
Despite a Covid-19 hit that sidelined many field operations, Brazil’s 2020 mid-year figures appeared to put production on track for another yearly gain dominated by the pre-salt.
The renewable energy boom will continue to accelerate. Oil majors are well-positioned to use JVs and alliances to build renewables businesses, but they’ll need to adapt their partnership approach to win in a low-carbon future.
Improved outlook disrupted momentarily by Texas mess
Thinking small to find big solutions
Working from home, not electric vehicles, could kill oil demand growth
Partnership, innovation are essential to maximizing ESG performance