“Do more with less”
This motto encapsulated the US oil & gas industry during these past two years as operators grabbled with how to survive in the most recent industry downturn. Through innovation and trialing of new technologies and operational approaches, the US land oil & gas operators are driving drilling and completion efficiencies to new levels.
A recent study conducted by Kimberlite Oilfield Research based on personal interviews with over 125 US land oil & gas operators reveals they are indeed accomplishing more with less.
Specifically, US oil & gas operators are drilling 20% longer laterals to increase initial production rates and accomplishing this task with 5.8% fewer drilling days. Truly, doing more with less is being achieved through the drilling efficiencies evidenced in the market and allowing US land operators to drill, on average 8,152 feet laterals, in less time than they drilled one year ago with less footage.
Efficiencies are also evidenced in the completions area with US land oil & gas operators completing on average 48.6% more stages per well and accomplishing this task with only 7% more completion days than one year ago. Again, accomplishing more with less is evidenced by this improvement and being able to complete an additional 14 stages per well versus one year ago and only increasing the number of days by 0.7 versus one year ago.
In addition, US land oil & gas operators on average are pumping 41.1% more proppant per well than just one year ago and again they are accomplishing this achievement with only a minimal increase in the number of completion days. These efficiencies associated with drilling longer laterals, completing more frac stages and pumping more proppant per lateral foot have resulted in achieving higher initial production rates and improved economics.
While many unknowns exist in the market with respect to the geopolitical stability of the Middle East and many other oil producing regions, the current sentiment among US land oil & gas operators remains positive for 2018 and the spirit to innovate and continuously improve remains strong.