For several years now, a critical supply/demand imbalance has been developing across all proppant types. Undoubtedly, this inequality has left suppliers scrambling to add capacity for raw sand, resin-coated sand, and ceramics. Fortunately, three current issues involved in shale development dynamics may possess a measurable impact on the use of proppants. These adjustments exhibit strong potential for increased drilling in existing U.S. gas shales, ongoing evaluations to lead to improvements in completion and fracturing program designs, as well as updated changes in the number of wells drilled in liquids-rich shale plays. The most notable positive adjustments can be broken into three main areas:
- Liquids-rich drilling. Development in U.S. liquids-rich shale is dependent on drilling in leading areas. Studies from 2012 show that the highest spot price for crude oil reached $108.76 on March 1st with the lowest price for the year at $77.91 on June 21st and closed at $86 on November 2nd. Crude oil prices are anticipated to remain within the $80-$100 window, hence, wet-play shale drilling in the U.S. is expected to remain on a positive trend throughout the remainder of 2013.
- Gas shales drilling. Drilling environments throughout the U.S. are in much better shape than they were even a year ago. The wellhead price of natural gas has been improving steadily with principal drivers growing gas consumption in the power generation sector, resulting in greatly reduced drilling across U.S. gas shales. Positive support exists for natural gas drilling and development in the near future with projections of gas reaching $3.75 before the close of 2013 and up to $4.25 in 2014.
- Program design improvements. A key goal in development of unconventional reservoirs is to provide as much reservoir contact with the rock face as possible. Ideally, this should be optimized by proper lateral length, desired number of stages, and fracture conductivity techniques as well as other contributing structures.
Although additional research, evaluation and assessment continue, results indicate that effective placement in combination with more stages and reduced fluid and proppant volumes could very well be the industry’s path moving forward, leading to a greater demand for qualified job seekers and profit surges for natural gas companies. FootBridge Energy has remained ahead of the curve in the energy sector, helping natural gas employers and job seekers find success during this booming period. If you are interested in learning more about energy industry careers or finding qualified energy industry candidates, contact the energy staffing professionals at FootBridge Energy today!