Tuesday, May 15, 2018

$71-a-barrel crude gets more drilling rigs into the oil patch

Wall Street Journal graphic from Baker Hughes data (Click to enlarge )
Higher oil prices have triggered a rise in drilling into deep shale formations in the U.S, and though oil fields in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico are still the fastest-growing spot, shortages in labor and materials and congested pipelines there have prompted drillers to look further afield. "From Oklahoma to North Dakota, companies are increasing investment in oil fields that fell out of favor several years ago, as $70-a-barrel crude prices make fracking and horizontal drilling economical in more places again," Rebecca Elliott reports for The Wall Street Journal.

The oil-rig count in the Permian more than tripled over the past two years because its existing infrastructure and high-yielding shale made it the least expensive place in the U.S. to get oil from fracking, but the number of oil rigs in other basins more than doubled in the same period. That includes North Dakota's Bakken region, the Eagle Ford in South Texas, the Granite Wash in the Texas Panhandle and the Cana Woodford in Oklahoma.

"Last year it was all about, 'How much can you put in the Permian?'" Daniel Romero, an analyst with the energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, told Elliott. "But now, a few months later, it’s what else are you doing outside of the Permian?"

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