FRACTIONAL FLOW

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Archive for the ‘The Red Queen Effect’ Category

Status on the Bakken ”Red Queen” with Data as per April 2015

This post presents a study of developments of Light Tight Oil (LTO, shale oil) extraction for 8 companies in Bakken(ND) that as of April 2015 had added around 600 (or more) producing wells in the Bakken/Three Forks formations since January 2008.

The 8 companies are; Continental Resources, EOG Resources, Hess Bakken Investments, Marathon Oil Company, Oasis Petroleum, Statoil Oil & Gas, Whiting Oil and Gas Corporation and XTO Energy.

These 8 companies had around 63% of total LTO extraction from Bakken as of April 2015.

The decline in the oil price has so far reduced the number of rigs drilling in Bakken and a decline in total LTO extraction in Bakken. This study shows there are differences in responses amongst the studied companies to the oil price decline.

As with most other things, size matters, also in Bakken.

Figure 1: The chart above (stacked areas) shows developments in total  LTO extraction, split on the 8 presented companies and others. 4 of the studied companies had growth in LTO extraction for the period from December 2014 through April 2015 which are stacked on top. NOTE: The chart does not include contributions from wells starting to flow prior to 2008 for the presented companies and the contributions from these wells are included in others and normally diminishes as the wells ages.

Figure 1: The chart above (stacked areas) shows developments in total LTO extraction, split on the 8 presented companies and others.
4 of the studied companies had growth in LTO extraction for the period from December 2014 through April 2015 which are stacked on top.
NOTE: The chart does not include contributions from wells starting to flow prior to 2008 for the presented companies and the contributions from these wells are included in others and normally diminishes as the wells ages.

Data from the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) shows that in  April 2015 Bakken LTO extraction was at 1.11 Mb/d, down from a high of 1.16 Mb/d as of December 2014.

  • For the period December 2014 – April 2015 those in decline lost about 76 kb/d (close to 10%), while those with growth added around 21 kb/d, curtailing total decline at 55 kb/d (close to 5%).
  • The 4 companies with growth added about 300 producing wells (46%) of a total of 645 for the months January – April 15 and contributed about 37% of the total Bakken LTO extraction per April 2015.

kb; kilo barrels = 1,000 barrels

The decline in the oil price and LTO flow (for some companies) is likely to move focus to CAPital EXpenditures discipline, profitability and balance sheets healing.

The low oil price has already affected the scale of the drilling and will in the near future lead to a decline in the monthly producing wells additions.

At present oil prices ($60/Bbl, WTI) the net cash flow from operations could unabridged pay for the addition of around 100 wells/month (from spud to flow).

As of the recent months an average of 160 producing wells was started monthly and LTO extraction declined.

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Written by Rune Likvern

Thursday, 18 June, 2015 at 21:48

Is the Red Queen outrunning Bakken LTO extraction?

This post is an update on LTO extraction in Bakken based upon published data from the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) as per January 2015.

This post also presents a closer look at developments in LTO extracted from the three of the four counties that presently dominates LTO extraction; McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams.

With an oil price below $50/Bbl (WTI) the companies involved in extraction of LTO in Bakken faces two financial challenges;

  1. The decline in the cash flow from operations reduces funding capacities for manufacturing new wells. A lower oil price also lowers the value of the companies’ assets and borrowing capacities.
  2. The “average” well with around 90 kb [90,000 Bbls] of flow in its first year is estimated to have an undiscounted point forward break even (that is a nominal break even with 0% return for the well) at around $65/Bbl (WTI). The break even price increases with increases in the return requirement.


In short, LTO extraction at present prices
($45/Bbl, WTI) makes little commercial sense!

Figure 01: The chart above shows development in Light Tight Oil (LTO) extraction from January 2009 and as of January 2015 in Bakken North Dakota [green area, right hand scale]. The top black line is the price of Western Texas Intermediate (WTI), red middle line the Bakken LTO price (sweet) as published by the Director for NDIC and bottom orange line the spread between WTI and Bakken LTO wellhead all left hand scale.

Figure 01: The chart above shows development in Light Tight Oil (LTO) extraction from January 2009 and as of January 2015 in Bakken North Dakota [green area, right hand scale]. The top black line is the price of Western Texas Intermediate (WTI), red middle line the Bakken LTO price (sweet) as published by the Director for NDIC and bottom orange line the spread between WTI and Bakken LTO wellhead all left hand scale.

From December 2014 to January 2015 LTO extraction from Bakken(ND) declined from 1.16 Mb/d to 1.13 Mb/d.

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Growth in Global Total Debt sustained a High Oil Price and delayed the Bakken “Red Queen”

The saying is that hindsight (always) provides 20/20 vision.

In this post I present a retrospective look at my prediction from 2012 published on The Oil Drum (The “Red Queen” series) where I predicted that Light Tight Oil (LTO) extraction from Bakken in North Dakota would not move much above 0.7 Mb/d.

  • Profitable drilling in Bakken for LTO extraction has been, is and will continue to be dependent on an oil price above a certain threshold, now about $68/Bbl at the wellhead (or around $80/Bbl [WTI]) on a point forward basis.
    (The profitability threshold depends on the individual well’s productivity and companies’ return requirements.)
  • Complete analysis of developments to LTO extraction should encompass the resilience of the oil companies’ balance sheets and their return requirements.

Figure 01: The chart above shows development in Light Tight Oil (LTO) extraction from January 2009 and as of August 2014 in Bakken North Dakota [green area, right hand scale]. The top black line is the price of Western Texas Intermediate (WTI), red middle line the Bakken LTO price (sweet) as published by the Director for NDIC and bottom orange line the spread between WTI and Bakken LTO wellhead all left hand scale. The spread between WTI and Bakken wellhead has widened in the recent months.

Figure 01: The chart above shows development in Light Tight Oil (LTO) extraction from January 2009 and as of August 2014 in Bakken North Dakota [green area, right hand scale]. The top black line is the price of Western Texas Intermediate (WTI), red middle line the Bakken LTO price (sweet) as published by the Director for NDIC and bottom orange line the spread between WTI and Bakken LTO wellhead all left hand scale. The spread between WTI and Bakken wellhead has widened in the recent months.

What makes extraction from source rock in Bakken attractive (as in profitable) is/was the high oil price and cheap debt (low interest rates). The Bakken formation has been known for decades and fracking is not a new technology, though it has seen and is likely to see lots of improvements.

LTO extraction in Bakken (and in other plays like Eagle Ford) happened due to a higher oil price as it involves the deployment of expensive technologies which again is at the mercy of:

  • Consumers affordability, that is their ability to continue to pay for more expensive oil
  • Changes in global total debt levels (credit expansion), like the recent years rapid credit expansion in emerging economies, primarily China.
  • Central banks’ policies, like the recent years’ expansions of their balance sheets and low interest rate policies
    • Credit/debt is a vehicle for consumers to pay (create demand) for a product/service
    • Credit/debt is also used by companies to generate supplies to meet changes to demand
    • What companies in reality do is to use expectations of future cash flows (from consumers’ abilities to take on more debt) as collateral to themselves go deeper into debt.
    • Credit/debt, thus works both sides of the supply/demand equation
  • How OPEC shapes their policies as responses to declines in the oil price
    Will OPEC establish and defend a price floor for the oil price?

I have recently and repeatedly pointed out;

  • Any forecasts of oil (and gas) demand/supplies and oil price trajectories are NOT very helpful if they do not incorporate forecasts for changes to total global credit/debt, interest rates and developments to consumers’/societies’ affordability.

Oil is a global commodity which price is determined in the global marketplace.

Added liquidity and low interest rates provided by the world’s dominant central bank, the Fed, has also played some role in the developments in LTO extraction from the Bakken formation in North America.

As numerous people repeatedly have said; “Never bet against the Fed!” to which I will add “…and China’s determination to expand credit”.

Let me be clear, I do not believe that the Fed’s policies have been aimed at supporting developments in Bakken (or other petroleum developments) this is in my opinion unintended consequences.

In Bakken two factors helped grow and sustain a high number of well additions (well manufacturing);

  • A high(er) oil price
  • Growing use of cheap external funding (primarily debt)

In the summer of 2012 I found it hard to comprehend what would sustain the oil price above $80/Bbl (WTI).

The mechanisms that supported the high oil price was well understood, what lacked was documentation from authoritative sources about the scale of the continued accommodative policies from major central banks’ (balance sheet expansions [QE] and low interest rate policies) and as important; global total credit expansion, which in recent years was driven by China and other emerging economies.

I have described more about this in my post World Crude Oil Production and the Oil Price.

 

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IN BAKKEN (ND) IT IS NOW MOSTLY ABOUT MCKENZIE COUNTY

In this post I present an update to my previous posts over at The Oil Drum (The Red Queen series) on developments in tight oil production from the Bakken formation in North Dakota with some additional estimates, mainly presented in charts. The expansion is much about the differences between wells capable of producing, actual producing wells and idle wells (here defined as the difference between the number of wells capable of producing and the number of actual producing wells).

Figure 01: The chart above shows monthly net additions of producing wells (green columns plotted against the rh scale) and development in oil production from Bakken (ND) (thick dark blue line, lh scale) as of January 2000 and as of October 2013. The 12 Month Moving Average (12 MMA) is also plotted (thick dotted dark red line, lh scale).

Figure 01: The chart above shows monthly net additions of producing wells (green columns plotted against the rh scale) and development in oil production from Bakken (ND) (thick dark blue line, lh scale) as of January 2000 and as of October 2013. The 12 Month Moving Average (12 MMA) is also plotted (thick dotted dark red line, lh scale).

There is still noticeable growth in tight oil production from an accelerated additions of producing wells.

  • For October 2013 North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) reported a production of 877 kb/d from Bakken/Three Forks.
  • In October 2013YTD production from Bakken/Three Forks (ND) was 775 kb/d.
    (It is now expected that average daily production for all 2013 from Bakken (ND) will become around 800 kb/d.
  • The cash flow analysis now suggests less use of debt for manufacturing wells for 2013.
    Major funding for new wells now appears to come mainly from from net cash flows.

kb; kilo barrels = 1,000 barrels

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TIGHT OIL AND OIL SAND VERSUS SMALL DEEP WATER DEVELOPMENTS, SOME OBSERVATIONS

This post which is based on results from earlier research and analytic work posted on The Oil Drum, Fractional Flow and not least in recent (private) discussions with other international acknowledged experts present some facts and observations about developments of tight oil (which to some extent also applies to oil sands) versus small deep water discoveries*.

*Small deep water discoveries are here meant discoveries with Estimated Ultimate Recovery (EUR) below 100 Million Barrels of Oil Equivalents (MBOE).

Figure 1: Chart above shows relative developments in annualized yield curves (lh scale) of oil for so-called elephants (Norwegian deep water discoveries estimated to hold ultimate recoverable reserves (EUR) above 1,000 million barrels with crude oil [red lines]). Small discoveries (Norwegian deep water discoveries estimated to hold ultimate recoverable reserves (EUR) below 100 million barrels with crude oil, [green lines]). The reference tight oil well for Bakken [violet lines]. The cumulative versus time is plotted against the rh scale.  Note also the short high flow life cycles of small deep water developments and tight oil.

Figure 1: Chart above shows relative developments in annualized yield curves (lh scale) of oil for so-called elephants (Norwegian deep water discoveries estimated to hold ultimate recoverable reserves (EUR) above 1,000 million barrels with crude oil [red lines]).
Small discoveries (Norwegian deep water discoveries estimated to hold ultimate recoverable reserves (EUR) below 100 million barrels with crude oil, [green lines]).
The reference tight oil well for Bakken [violet lines].
The cumulative versus time is plotted against the rh scale.
Note also the short high flow life cycles of small deep water developments and tight oil.

One big takeaway from the chart above is that both developed small deep water discoveries and tight oil wells have steep decline rates and short high flow life cycles. These are now the major sources that offset declines from the bigger, heavily depleted legacy fields (with long productive life cycles) and provide any growth in global oil supplies.

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NOE MER DETALJERT OM FALLRATER, PRIMÆRT FOR NORSK SOKKEL

I løpet av 2011 opplevde råoljeutvinningen på britisk sektor noe som ble beskrevet som en kollaps. Råoljeutvinningen i 2011 falt med 18 % relativt til 2010.

I dette innlegget presenterer jeg utviklingen i råoljeutvinningen og fallratene for britisk og dansk sektor. Norsk sektor tilhører det samme petroleumsbassenget noe som nå gir grunn til å vente tilsvarende utvikling for norsk sektor.

Innlegget kan oppfattes å være noe ”teknisk”, men for de som leser og studerer de vedlagte diagrammene så vil det forhåpentligvis gi noe innsikt i nytten av å forstå fallrater.

Figur 01: Figuren viser utviklingen for råoljeutvinningen (grønne søyler) på britisk sektor (sort linje; råoljeutvinningen glattet over 12 måneder). Utviklingen i oljeprisen er vist i samme diagram.

Når jeg utarbeidet prognosene mine presentert i dette innlegget så la jeg til grunn historikk og en konservativ metode. Etter nå å ha studert dataene for de enkelte felt i detalj så avtegnes et noe annet og foreløpig urovekkende bilde.

  • Fallratene har de seneste årene og med noe tidsforskyvning svingt harmonisk med oljeprisen. Korrelasjon er som kjent ikke kausalitet, men som diagrammene i dette innlegget viser så er det lett å få assosiasjoner i den retningen.
  • Etter en periode med høye oljepriser og bremsing av fallratene virker det nå som at geologi og fysikk igjen blir dominerende og vil akselerere fallratene for feltene på norsk sokkel.
  • Fallratene vil være en god ledende indikator på effekten fra tiltak for å øke oljeutvinningen da dette vil kunne vises gjennom en nedbremsing av fallratene og i noen tilfeller reversering av fallet og vekst i utvinningen.

Det er variasjoner mellom feltenes reservoaregenskaper og dreneringsstrategier så bildet er ikke entydig, men det er ikke til å komme fra at de historiske feltdataene avtegner et mønster. Om den siste tids utvikling summeres for alle feltene så synes den norske råoljeutvinningen å stå overfor en akselerasjon av fallraten der nye felt som bringes i utvinning vil dempe det totale fallet for norsk råoljeutvinning.

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FALLRATER, UTVINNINGSGRAD OG RÅOLJEUTVINNINGEN PÅ NORSK SOKKEL

Det kan nå virke som at enkelte oljeselskaper har tjuvstartet kappløpet med å informere markedene om at de er nær ved å få dispensasjon fra både historikk, geologi og fysiske lover.

Imidlertid viser dypdykk i harde data at historikk, geologi og fysiske lover enda ikke bryr seg med euforiske rosa pressemeldinger, penger (som ikke har noen iboende verdi, men som i økende grad er benyttet som et verktøy til å ”kjøpe” støtte for ønskede oppfatninger).

Heller ikke med formelle elitistiske forsamlinger fylt med alle som ”betyr noe” som prøver å overgå hverandre med hva utenforstående ville oppfatte som en foredragskonkurranse assistert med fargerike lysbilder der deltakerne fyller på med innovative ekvilibristiske formuleringer.

Historikk, geologi og fysiske lover har alltid fått siste ord. Vil alltid være slik.

Det er to sett økonomiske ”virkeligheter” det er viktig å forstå energiindustrien for; den ene refereres ofte til som prosjektøkonomisk, den andre og som enhver ledelse med ”respekt for seg selv” bruker mest tid på er ”street economics” (street som i Wall Street) hvis formål er å skape og vedlikeholde eufori i full visshet om at den siste idiot enda ikke er født og dermed sørge for frisk tilførsel av ”invistorer” til å hjelpe aksjekursen.

”Street economics” er ikke noe annet enn en velregissert multimedia forestilling for å vise seg frem for aksjonærene (eierne), forsøk på påvirkninger av kredittvurderinger og ikke minst lokke til seg finansiering og/eller berolige finansmarkedene (dvs kreditorene).

Jeg har alltid likt, liker fremdeles og vil fortsatt like å se de harde tallene til å hjelpe meg å skape en oppfatning om underliggende utviklinger, betydningen av disse, forventningsrette fremskrivninger og kanskje bidra til at andre kan ta del i det.

Jeg er gammeldags sånn og må vel fortsette å leve med det og har innsett at jeg i så måte ikke har noe valg.

Historiske data har det i grunnen liten hensikt i å bruke energi på å diskutere. De er ikke sexy nok.

Figur 1: Figuren viser historisk utvinning av råolje (etter felt) for norsk sokkel med data fra Oljedirektoratet (OD) for perioden 1970 – 2011. Figuren viser også en fremskrivning av råoljeutvinningen fra felt mot 2040 basert på vurderinger av fallrater, ODs estimater på gjenværende utvinnbare reserver, utvikling i R/P forhold etc..
Videre er det inkludert en prognose på den samlede råoljeutvinningen fra felt som er besluttet utviklet (grønt areal) og bidraget fra Johan Sverdrup (blått areal) som nå planlegges satt i utvinning sent i 2018.

Figur 1 er også ment å sette det mye omtalte Johan Sverdrup funnet i et perspektiv for norsk oljevirksomhet. Oljedirektoratets nåværende estimater på utvinnbare reserver kan bli reviderte i fremtiden og da vil selvfølgelig prognosen på utvinning bli revidert.

“Sanctioned Developments” i figur 1 representerer totalt bidrag fra 21 nye feltutviklinger som er  eller  sannsynlig vil bli besluttet.

Prognosen min fra i vår venter 1,57 Mb/d (Mb/d = millioner fat per dag) råolje fra norsk sokkel i 2012.

Per august 2012 viste utvinningsdata fra Oljedirektoratet 1,59 Mb/d (på årlig basis for 2012).

Oljedirektoratet sin prognose for 2012 publisert i januar 2012 (presentasjonen av sokkelåret 2011) ventet 1,61 Mb/d råolje fra norsk sokkel i 2012, mot 1,68 Mb/d i 2011.

Det gjenstår enda rundt 4 måneder med utvinning i 2012 før Oljedirektoratet presenterer fasit.

Mer om besluttede utbygginger for norsk sokkel i dette innlegget.

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