Technological developments could drive oilfield service earnings
New oilfield service technologies
New technologies that oilfield service companies are introducing are leading to increased activity levels, better performance, and lower costs. Larger, diversified oilfield service companies such as HAL, SLB, and BHI are often on the leading edge of technological breakthroughs, and these companies all appear to have strong technological catalysts in their portfolio. This is a positive for all of the names.
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Quotes from 2Q13 conference calls
“In Russia, we saw early success with our Em-Yoga integrated tight oil project. The project began earlier this year and by applying unconventional, multistage completion techniques to these mature fields, production has already materially exceeded targets, leading to substantially increased activity in this field.”
“As part of this larger strategy, Frac of the Future and Battle Red are really the platforms that enable surface efficiency, and we expect to see increased performance at the wellhead as we incorporate these tools into our processes.”
“Next is our Frac of the Future program, which is designed to reduce capital and operational costs at the well site. Early data indicates, our Q10 pumps are running two to three times longer than existing Halliburton pumps and five to six times longer than the industry standard before requiring maintenance, which we anticipate will reduce our fleet maintenance expense 5% to 30%.”
“This efficiency also allows us to reduce the equipment needed on location by an average of 25%, decreasing the capital required to deliver frac fleet and reducing labor and fuel costs.”
With regards to a new technology named “HiWAY” used for fracking, Schlumberger explained, “We use significantly less proppants and also generally less water in the operations that we do with HiWAY. The other way of reducing or lowering the intensity of these operations is to use much more of the subsurface approach prior to actually designing the jobs, right. So, having a much better understanding of the subsurface will allow you to design the completion of the well, and the amount of horsepower, water proppant you use by being more selective in which stages you frac, and also using more sophisticated frac fluids like HiWAY.”
Baker Hughes (BHI)
“In the past, I’ve talked about three technology-based themes underpinning long-term profitable growth for Baker Hughes. They are increasing well complexity, improving drilling efficiency and improving ultimate recovery.”
“Now the majority of our technology investment is aligned accordingly and today I’d like to highlight a new breakthrough product that takes a substantial step towards addressing the third theme, ultimate recovery. Our artificial lift product line has been testing a promising new technology to boost production rates and ultimate recovery for unconventional shale wells. As you know, these wells have a very steep decline in production in the first few years. So, the challenge was to develop an electrical submersible pump that could operate at lower flow rates typically associated with rod lift products while providing the reliability and overall efficiencies of an ESP.”
“The new FLEX pump series, ESP does just that. It is engineered to handle a broader range of production rates and can operate in low flow wells, down to 50 barrels per day. This is the right product at the right time and it expands our North American ESP market by over $1 billion and it provides our customers with more sophisticated solution, one that provide superior reliability and variable drawdown capability.”