Page 1

ISSUE 6 2017

The World’s View Why U.S. Shale Has Gone Global Page 14 Printed in USA

Plus Gas Capture Tech Back In Demand Page 20

And Countering Anti-Energy Actions Page 24




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ISSUE 6 2017





20 Game On For Gas Capture Technology PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY


2017: The Year Shale Went Global

BY PATRICK C. MILLER With unconventional oil and gas activity levels higher than years previous, producers are once again searching for gas capture options as pipeline takeaway capacity maxes out.

BY LUKE GEIVER This year shale energy became a staple in the global discussion on markets and oil prices thanks to a rise in exports, production and a greater reach to Europe and Asia.




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DOI outlines new take on federal energy development Canadian surface driller expands in Permian


ON THE COVER: In the SCOOP play of Oklahoma, drilling and completion activity continues to pick up in one of North America’s hottest shale plays.



Shale's Place in the World BY LUKE GEIVER





Getting the word out: Industry ogranizations counter activist efforts BY PATRICK C. MILLER New organizations have formed to educate, enlighten and help track nefarious activity targeting the oil and gas sector.




Shale’s Place In The World Shale energy development is a repetitive business. Industry finds cost-effective solutions within the numerous portions of the upstream and midstream sectors and repeats those solutions across well sites, fields, formations or plays. Innovation drives greater efficiencies or produc-

VOLUME 1 ISSUE 6 EDITORIAL Editor Luke Geiver Staff Writer Patrick C. Miller Copy Editor Jan Tellmann


tion, and market forces contract-or expand-activity levels. For

President Tom Bryan

Luke Geiver

the final issue of the year, we revisited a topic that was more

Vice President of Operations Matthew Spoor

EDITOR North American Shale magazine

technology. As he always does, Patrick C. Miller, staff writer,

significant and prominent two to three years ago: gas capture

Marketing & Sales Director John Nelson

uncovered and highlighted an important storyline linked to

Business Development Manager Bob Brown

nearly every shale play. Miller's story reminds us that even as

Circulation Manager Jessica Tiller

shale changes, many facets of the industry are repeated. After oil prices stalled activity growth, due to the forces of oil prices, shale gas producers are once

Marketing & Advertising Manager Marla DeFoe

again faced with the dilemma they encountered pre-oil price drop. In his piece, Game On For Gas Capture


Technology, Miller illustrates the massive need and demand that is once again apparent in the Bakken,

Art Director Jaci Satterlund

DJ Basin or Permian. The shale industry is experiencing a repeat. As production picks up and average IPs continue to rise, takeaway and gathering infrastructure capacity is filling up fast and in some cases, maxing out. Multiple sources told us that existing takeaway capacity in places like the Permian or DJ Basin will be full by 2019 at the current pace of production development. Check out Miller’s story to learn what a handful of gas capture and processing technology developers and providers are doing to help meet the near- and long-term demand for undersupplied gas producers in need of infrastructure necessary to move product to market. Moving product to market is a central tenant of our 2017 snapshot piece. Of all the themes available to us, none seemed as significant in the greater conversation on shale energy than the reality of U.S. shale’s impact and reach across the globe. This year, the evidence of shale’s global role became undeniably clear. Instead of focusing on the popular topic of shale's impact on OPEC, we wanted to pursue something more tangible. To do that, we got in touch with the main leaders involved in turning the Port of Corpus Christi into the shale energy hub of the world. The story of Anne (the 1,093 foot vessel that could be the future of shale oil exports) and of the port’s focus on 54 feet (the magic number that will allow Very Large Crude Carriers to dock at the port without interruption) provides a unique example of how what we do in the shale world—from a writing desk in North Dakota to a rig floor outside of Midland—is truly being recognized by the world. This year was certainly the year that shale gained the world’s atten-

Subscriptions Subscriptions to North American Shale magazine are free of charge to everyone with the exception of a shipping and handling charge for any country outside the United States. To subscribe, visit www. or you can send your mailing address and payment (checks made out to BBI International) to: North American Shale magazine/ Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You can also fax a subscription form to 701-7465367. Reprints and Back Issues Select back issues are available for $3.95 each, plus shipping. Article reprints are also available for a fee. For more information, contact us at 866-746-8385 or Advertising North American Shale magazine provides a specific topic delivered to a highly targeted audience. We are committed to editorial excellence and high-quality print production. To find out more about North American Shale magazine advertising opportunities, please contact us at 866-746-8385 or Letters to the Editor We welcome letters to the editor. If you write us, please include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or space. Send to North American Shale magazine/Letters, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203 or email to lgeiver@

tion. Thank you for including us into your 2017 shale activities. COPYRIGHT © 2017 by BBI International


For the Latest Industry News: Follow us: 6


Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling


North American Shale magazine will be distributed at the following events:

DUG Permian Basin May 21-23, 2018 Forth Worth, Texas

Issue 2, 2018 North American Shale magazine

Williston Basin Petroleum Conference May 22-24, 2018 Bismarck, North Dakota

Issue 2, 2018 North American Shale magazine

DUG East

June 19-21, 2018 Pittsburgh, PA Issue 3 North American Shale magazine

The Bakken Conference & Expo July 16-18, 2018 Watford City, North Dakota Issue 3, 2018 North American Shale magazine

NAPE Summer

August 16-17, 2018 Houston, Texas Issue 3 North American Shale magazine

DUG Eagle Ford

September 19-21, 2018 San Antonio, Texas Issue 3, 2018 North American Shale magazine

For a complete list of North American Shale magazine event distributions, please visit pages/advertising



Permian In the Permian’s Delaware Basin, Rosehill Resources has added 4,500 undeveloped acres for $77.6 million. The acres offer more than 320 drilling locations that could target the Wolfcamp A and B benches along with the Bone Spring. Although the acres are undeveloped, they are held by production from four vertical wells that put the acreage in lease terms until 2020. On a per drilling location basis, the acres cost roughly $500,000 per drilling location. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. will spend more than $900 million next year in the Delaware. The goal is to develop what the company calls its onshore mega project. The project includes establishing local workforce, trading for 35,000 net acres and delineating the core Wolfcamp A. To date, Anadarko has checked those items off its mega project to-do list. Next up, according to the E&P, is adding 120 mbopd of additional oil-treating capacity, 600 Mmcf/d of gas processing capacity to existing infrastructure already there, and, adding 700 mbl/d of water disposal capacity. For the past 18 months, Earthstone Energy has been navigating a company merger and a transition to West Texas. Through a deal valued at $27 million, Earthstone has shifted its focus to the Midland Basin where it now has a 27,000 net acre, 7,000 boepd-position following the sale of non-operated assets in the Williston Basin. The company left its Williston Basin position due, in part, to lease-operating expenses and access to water disposal in Texas. LOE’s in the Bakken were in the $10 to $12 range for the company, but are only in the $3/b range in Texas. Permian pure-play Diamondback Energy has grown production by more than 175 percent during the previous 11 quarters. The company is currently running nine drilling rigs and four frack crews. In Q3, Diamondback said it has increased the average length for its laterals, moving from 7,716 in Q2 to more than 9,600 feet in Q3. To end the year, Diamondback will bring 35 to 40 wells online.

Eagle Ford Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. reported a net income of $17.6 million in Q3, compared to a $10.3 million loss during the same quarter one year ago. The turnaround has come, in part, from its operations in the Eagle Ford. In Q3, the company brought nine new wells online. Each of the wells utilized a horizontal lateral that reached more than 10,000 feet and was packed with close to 2,000 pounds of proppant per foot. The company is currently running a single rig and a 24-hour frack crew.



Scoop/Stack The Energy Information Administration has added the Anadarko Basin—home to the emerging shale plays of the SCOOP and STACK—to its monthly Drilling Productivity Report. Information used prior to EIA’s inclusion of the Anadarko Basin showed that the region was producing 450,000 barrels of oil per day and 5.7 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. Devon Energy believes that publicly available data shows that the Oklahoma City operator has achieved the highest 90-day production rates for new wells of any U.S. onshore operator. In the STACK, the company recently said it has brought on more than 14 wells that achieved 30-day initial production rates of 2,300 boepd or higher (55 percent oil). Also in Q3, Devon said its STACK assets were its best performers as production advanced 26 percent compared to 2016 exit rates.

SandRidge Energy has made a move to bolster its DJ Basin position. Through an agreement with Bonanza Creek Energy valued at $746 million, SandRidge could create a DJ Basin position with 67,000 contiguous net acres. At current strip prices, many of the assets included in the Bonanza Creek deal could provide 40 percent initial rates of return at oil in the mid-$50 range. Fir Tree Partners, a manager that holds roughly 8 percent of SandRidge, believes the assets in the deal aren’t worth the asking price. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. will run five drilling rigs and three frack crews in the DJ to start the year. In total, Anadarko will invest more than $900 million next year in the Colorado play. SRC Energy Inc., a Denver-based firm, has picked up 30,000 acres in Weld County, Colorado, from Noble Energy. The deal—valued at $608 million—includes 4,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day and leaves Noble Energy with 335,000 net acres in the DJ Basin. According to Gary Willingham, executive vice president of operations, Noble did not intend to develop the acres sold to SRC Energy for a number of years. The producing assets included in the deal have a production mix of 20 percent oil, 30 percent natural gas liquids and 50 percent natural gas.



Bakken Hess Corp., a top-Bakken oil producer, has sold more than $2.6 billion worth of assets in Equatorial Guinea and Norway. Proceeds from the combined sales will be used to help Hess pay down roughly $500 million in debt next year and to help the exploration and production company continue to maintain and expand its operations in North Dakota and the Gulf of Mexico. While Hess will continue to focus mainly on the Bakken and the Gulf of Mexico, it will still have Select Sands is turning to the water to operations in the Utica, along with move proppant from its Arkansas-based assets in Guyana, Suriname, sand mine to the Appalachia shale plays. Ghana, Malaysia and Libya. Through a deal with an end-user in the Northeastern U.S., Select Sands will move 10,000 tons of frack sand via barge. The proppant-supply business has been improving for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company. From Q2 to Q3 this year, revenue for proppant increased by 148 percent.


Production By Play: Anadarko: 480,000 bpd - 6.0 million cf/d Month over month:

6,000 bpd

13 Mcf/d

Marcellus/Utica: 111,000 bpd – 26 million cf/d Month over month:

6,000 bpd

13 Mcf/d

Bakken: 1.1 million bpd – 2.0 million cf/d Month over month:

6,000 bpd

23 Mcf/d

Eagle Ford: 1.2 million bpd – 6.2 million cf/d Month over month:

0 bpd

5 Mcf/d

Haynesville: 45,000 bpd – 7.2 million cf/d Month over month:

1,000 bpd

131 Mcf/d

Niobrara: 523,000 bpd – 4.7 million cf/d Month over month:

7,000 bpd

43 Mcf/d

Permian: 2.6 million bpd – 9.1 million cf/d Month over month:

58,000 bpd

170 Mcf/d

Drilled Uncompleted Wells: Anadarko: 921

Haynesville The Haynesville shale gas play is growing once again. With operators drilling laterals past 7,000 feet, frack crews placing more proppant per lateral foot and utilizing more frack stages, producers are now increasing initial production rates, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This year, the play reached 6.9 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas production, up from the 6 billion cbpd achieved last year.

Appalachia: 791 Bakken: 735 Eagle Ford: 1,485 Haynesville: 192 Niobrara: 685 Permian: 2,533



LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BETTER: Ryan Zinke, secretary for the U.S. Department of Interior, has asked all 9 of the DOI's departments to find ways to help increase the responsible production of energy from federal lands. PHOTO: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR

DOI outlines new take on federal energy development The U.S. Department of the Interior believes developing the country’s energy resources to grow the economy while protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive ideals. In fact, the DOI believes it needs to do more to help domestic energy production and environmental stewardship. Through its special report, “Review of the Department of the Interior Actions that Potentially Burden Domestic Energy,” the DOI has outlined several factors that it believes can be corrected to help make the U.S. energy dominant. “While conducting the review outlined in the executive order [issued from President Trump], we found that several costly and burdensome regulations from the past threaten that balance by hampering the production or transmission of our domestic energy,” said Ryan Zinke, DOI’s secretary. The DOI has nine energy

programs, each with their own responsibilities. Through its report, the DOI found burdensome areas related to the Obama Administration’s five-year energy plan, the Bureau of Land Management’s fracking rule on federal and tribal land, the BLM’s venting and flaring rule and the systematic delays in the leasing and permitting processes and programs. “Our public lands are meant to be managed for the benefit of the people,” Zinke said. “That means a multiple-use approach where appropriate and making sure that multiple-use includes energy development under reasonable regulations,” adding that “following President Trump’s leadership, Interior is fostering domestic energy production by streamlining permitting and revising and repealing Obama-era job killing regulations— all while doing so in an environmentally responsible way.”


6 Secretarial Orders Issued: 1. Concerning the Federal Coal Moratorium: SC 3348 removes the moratorium previously placed on the Federal government from allowing coal leases on federal land. 2. American Energy Independence: SC 3349 directs bureaus to look at specific actions that impact oil and gas development or other energy development efforts. 3. America-First Offshore Energy Strategy: SC 3350 allows for more opportunities of energy exploration, leasing, environmental stewardship and development on the Outer Continental Shelf. 4. National Petroleum Reserve—Alaska: SC 3352 allows the clean and safe development of oil and gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. 5. Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation and Cooperation with Western States: SC 3353 tasks a special team of representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey to review a 2015 greater sage-grouse plan and associated policy while giving appropriate weight to the value of energy and other development on public lands. 6. Supporting and Improving the Federal Onshore, Gas Leasing Program and Federal Solid Mineral Leasing Program: SC 3354 ensures quarterly oil and gas lease sales are held and pushes to promote exploration on federal lands.

DOI’s 9 Energy Program Impacts 1. Bureau Of Land Management: Administers onshore energy and subsurface minerals 2. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement: Oversees coal mining operations 3. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management: Oversees offshore oil, gas and wind developments 4. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement: Oversees, protects offshore energy industry actions 5. Bureaus of Reclamation: Generates hydroelectric power (more than 40 million Megawatt-hours per year) 6. Bureau of Indian Affairs: Oversees leasing of tribal and Indian land for energy development 7. Office of Natural Resources Revenue: Collects revenue from energy production and development 8. U.S. Geological Survey: Conducts research and assessments on energy resources 9. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/National Park Service: Manage minerals or lands on which energy infrastructure may exist


REAL SCENARIOS: At the Hess Virtual Reality Lab on the campus of the University of North Dakota, petroleum engineering students can undergo drilling operation scenarios. PHOTO: NORTH AMERICAN SHALE MAGAZINE

University of North Dakota opens VR lab for shale drillers EXPLAINED SIMULATION: Derek Vioen with Drilling Systems Ltd., demonstrates the capabilities of the DrillSim 5000 unit. The DS 5000 is one of only five in operation by U.S. universities. PHOTO: NORTH AMERICAN SHALE MAGAZINE

VIRTUAL RIG FLOOR: The DS 5000 is capable of turning real-life drilling rig floor environments present in the Bakken or other shale play operations into computerized simulations. PHOTO: NORTH AMERICAN SHALE MAGAZINE

Virtual reality glasses, the DrillSim 5000 and industry expertise are all available to future petroleum engineers working in the recently dedicated Hess oil and gas labs at the University of North Dakota’s Collaborative Energy Complex. Sponsored by Hess Corp. and Drilling Systems Ltd.—a United Kingdom-based company—the labs now available to UND’s petroleum engineering students allow students to undergo an entire drilling scenario from start to finish. UND is now only one of five universities in the country with a DrillSim 5000 simulator. The simulator resembles a detailed drill rig floor environment. “For UND, this is a fantastic tool to support different parts of the curriculum—to take the students into a more immersive

world,” said Euan Kennedy, Drilling Systems business development manager. “It’s very easy to discuss things on paper, but to visually go through the operation and see the consequences of actions, it gives students the experience to work on what they will potentially be using when they’re employed.” Qbit Technologies, a California startup firm that specializes in VR training helped set-up the lab. Distance learners working with UND can also access the lab through VR. Training that utilizes VR also allows diverse groups of people to train together, according to UND. Bakken operators can specifically use the lab to train for conditions and drilling scenarios present in the play that shares the same state as UND.



Canadian surface driller expands in Permian Predator Drilling Inc. has found a new place to prowl. The Canadian-based drilling contractor entered the Permian Basin drilling scene in September 2016 and now it has found a way to expand. In an undisclosed, all-equity transaction, Predator has acquired the assets of Midland-based J.B. Hunt Oil and Gas Drilling. Included in the deal are six 1,000-horsepower, single-drilling rigs along with other specialized equipment. Since first entering the Permian with a single rig, Predator is now running 10 drilling rigs. The main focus of Predator has been on the vertical section of a well. Using shallow, pre-set rigs, Predator’s team can drill, case and cement the surface portion of a well. In addition to shallow preset drilling of the vertical section, Predator also performs horizontal, directional and slant drilling services. Shane Walper, president and CEO of Predator, calls the Permian an “exciting” market. The preset approach to drilling the vertical section of a well can save operators up to 15 percent on surface costs, according to the company.

FROM THE TOP DOWN: As it has in Canada, Predator Drilling is finding great demand for drilling only the vertical sections of a horizontal well. PHOTO: PREDATOR DRILLING

ASSETS IN ACTION: Through its all-equity purchase of J.B. Hunt Drilling assets, Predator Drilling will gain six 11,000-horsepower, surface-drilling rigs along with the knowhow of Hunt’s Midland, Texas, team. PHOTO: PREDATOR DRILLING




U.S. shale average breakeven oil price

US$/bbl 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 2013Q1

Range Average U.S. Shale





SOURCE: RYSTAD ENERGY NASWELLCUBE PREMIUM. Notes: Breakeven price is based on wellhead costs and does not include test activity, where well was shut-down after completion. Last observation is 2017Q1.

World Bank report: Shale breakeven range shrinking The range of breakeven prices in North America’s multiple shale plays is now less than $10, according to a new report from the World Bank. As part of the organization’s 2018 commodity price outlook, breakeven prices were reviewed and predicted for next year. In 2018, most shalefocused operators will reach breakeven rates with oil trading in the $40-per-barrel range. Breakeven prices for 2018 are much different than those present in the past three years. In late 2014, data from the World Bank indicates that some shale players could breakeven in the mid-$50/b range while others needed oil to trade near $80/b. Advancements in drilling and completion techniques since 2014 are a big reason breakevens are lower and within a smaller range across all shale plays, according to the World Bank. Multi-well pad developments, which cut down on

drilling and fracking times, along with longer laterals and heavier sand loading, which leads to higher well productivity are also reasons for the breakeven prices in 2017 and beyond. While many producers have also benefited from hedging activities, many have, are or will experience service cost inflation or difficult staffing environments. In particular, the World Bank said Permian producers are struggling the most to find skilled labor. Next year, a steady growth in global oil demand, production curtailment strategies implemented by OPEC and Russia along with stabilizing U.S. shale oil production levels will all help keep oil prices above $55/b—a rise of $3/b over 2017 levels. Brent crude has traded in the $60/b range in 2017.



2017 :




From its impact on world markets to its rise in U.S. exports, North American shale energy has officially become a global player

By Luke Geiver

MEET ANNE: The 1,093-foot vessel pictured here was tested at the Port earlier this year. Anne is the ideal vessel for shale oil export, capable of moving more than 2 million barrels per voyage. After first beginning shale oil exports in 2016, the Port of Corpus Christi is now moving more than 500,000 barrels of shale oil from the Port daily. PHOTO: PORT OF CORPUS CHRISTI


The magic number for U.S. received a clear signal from China The New World shale is 54. The number has earlier this year that the country View on Shale wanted U.S. shale gas. During a tour of several Asian countries, President Donald Trump sat with Chinese state leaders and representatives from the China Energy Investment Corp. and Sinopec, the national oil company, to establish an agreement that would bring Chinese investment to West Virginia and Alaska in exchange for access to shale gas produced from each state. With $83.7 billion, China will help develop multiple projects in the area in a 20-year span. Projects will include power generation from natural gas, chemical manufacturing and storage of NGLs and supply of NGL. “West Virginia has actively sought foreign investment to strengthen and diversify our economy,” said Wood Thrasher, commerce secretary for West Virginia. In Alaska, a long-time vision to transport shale gas produced inland to the coast could be realized from the same Trump trip. Through a fiveparty joint development deal that involves the state, along with Sinopec, Bank of China and the China Energy Investment Corp., Alaska could become a main supplier of liquified natural gas to China if the multibillion-dollar deal amongst the stakeholders plays out. The deal would help develop the infrastructure necessary to move shale gas to the coast. In addition to the multibilliondollar deals with West Virginia and Alaska, China has already shown its desire to obtain U.S. shale energy. This fall, China obtained roughly 1 million barrels of light sweet crude from Bakken and SCOOP/STACK producer Continental Resources. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and officials at the PCC, China is one of the leadForeign Countries Want ing destinations for U.S. light sweet A Future in US Shale West Virginia and Alaska each crude.

nothing to do with breakeven prices, fracture stages per well or other data points linked to shale energy production. Fifty-four is the distance—in feet—needed to make the Port of Corpus Christi truly the shale energy export hub of the world (not that it isn’t already). As it currently exists, the Port’s main channel is 47 feet deep. At 54 feet, the channel could accommodate Very Large Crude Carriers, the massive vessels capable of moving more than 2 million barrels of liquid crude sourced from places like West Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota to anywhere in the world. A VLCC can save a shale oil exporter up to $1 million per voyage and represents the ideal vessel for exports to European import hubs in Italy or China where refineries are in need of light sweet crude. While the PCC team has already found alternative export vessels and shore-to-ship loading strategies for the export of shale oil, the goal of the community and port authority leaders remains sharply focused on that magic number. Investments and commitments by both the local and federal governments have already been made to gain the seven additional feet. It is only a matter of time—roughly two years—before VLCC’s can dock, load and ship out with no special processes and the PCC’s goal of sending North American shale energy to the rest of the world on a daily basis will be realized. Until then, however, the PCC and Corpus team are not the only entities helping to reveal a new energy reality to the entire world: U.S. shale has gone global.

In its 2017 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency declared the U.S. the undisputed leader for oil and gas, a firstever declaration for the U.S. The new crown given to the U.S. comes directly from the exploration, production and development of shale oil and gas, IEA says. From 2010 to 2025, the U.S. will match the highest sustained oil output growth level by a single country in the history of oil markets, IEA says. The amount of shale gas produced in the country will far surpass any number previously recorded for such markets. “Expansion on this scale is having wide-ranging impacts within North America, fueling major investments in petrochemicals and other energy-intensive industries,” IEA says. “It is also reordering international trade flows and challenging incumbent suppliers and business models.” The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has experienced firsthand how shale oil production in the U.S. can impact world markets. The IEA says shale has created a shift in the world dynamic that people are just starting to understand. The shift, IEA says, will last well into the future. “The old ways of understanding the world of energy are losing value as countries change roles,” the group says. For example, the Middle East is quickly becoming a major energy consumer and the U.S. a major exporter.

The Shale Energy Hub of The World Jarl Pedersen, chief commercial officer at PCC, is doing everything he can to make the U.S. a major shale energy exporter. Two weeks after Congress lifted the export ban, Pedersen’s team helped to perform the



Transit Times of Trade Routes from U.S. Gulf Coast Panama Canal Suez Canal other 0




South America Ecuador Chile Asia Japan South Korea northern China Taiwan southern China Thailand Singapore Indonesia Malaysia Pakistan


country’s first export of U.S. shale oil. Today, PCC is shipping roughly 600,000 bpd to 26 different countries spread throughout Europe and China. In April, PCC shipped a large tanker of shale oil that held nearly 1 million barrels. A month later, PCC held a testing demonstration for Anne, a VLCC owned by Belgium-based Euronav that was 1,093 feet long and capable of holding more than 2 million barrels of oil. The exercise with Anne underscored the need to provide a 54-foot deep channel. Under current conditions, ships can be partially loaded at the dock, but must be loaded to capacity while in deeper water, a process that costs more time and money. “I think what producers and midstream companies are looking for and need to have is certainty that we are working to widen and deepen the ship channel,” Pedersen says. “That is why we have been to Midland a couple of times over the last few months.” When oil and gas gathering infrastructure capacity runs out in 2019 as Pedersen and others predict, Corpus Christi wants to be ready for pipelines bringing shale oil and gas to the region. Refining capacity for light sweet crude in the region is already maxed. The best option for Permian producers is to ship crude overseas or to Mexico, Pedersen says. Through a major project designed to alter the port’s infrastructure, Pedersen believes his team is showing shale producers across the U.S. that PCC is serious about giving them a competitive advantage for export. PCC has invested $30 million for port upgrades, a portion of a much larger sum that will be paid in part by the federal government. “We could


Dependable liquid storage and spill containment products for over

60 years 16




Shale Makes The List In market and research firm Energy Intelligence’s 2017 rankings of the largest and most prominent oil companies—private or state-run— shale has made a mark. For the first time ever, U.S. shale players now occupy 25 spots in the top 100 and hold 8 positions in the top 50 (up six from last year).

easily be doubling or tripling the volume of crude from this port,” Pedersen says. In January 2016, only 12 percent of the crude that left the port in Corpus was for export purposes. In October this year, more than 72 percent of the crude that moved through the port was for export. The majority of it was shale oil. Occidental Petroleum and others have already established loading docks for their own vessels, and some

producers are working to pool their oil volumes and resources to lower shipping costs and meet requirements. PCC’s all-in approach to becoming a shale energy export mecca isn’t just about the shale oil coming in and going out. Tommy Kurtz, vice president of business development at the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp., along with Iain Vasey, president and CEO, agree that

“The strong showing from shale-focused U.S. independents underscores how that sector has adapted to the lower price environment, while the mixed fortunes of the Supermajors show the challenges this price cycle is posing for bigger integrated players. Companies on the Top 100 list were chosen based on six parameters: 1. Oil reserves 2. Natural gas reserves 3. Oil production 4. Natural gas production 5. Refinery distillation capacity 6. Refined product sales

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POSSIBLE SCENARIO: Through a multi-billion dollar investment from China, Alaska could pipe liquefied natural gas from the north to docks on the southern coast.

there is more to the shale story along the Gulf Coast then just exports. According to Vasey, the industrial Gulf Coast has seen more than $300 billion of investment in the past five to six years because of its proximity and ability to use shale gas. Corpus Christi has experienced more than $50 billion worth of announced projects. For the past several years, the region has been adding 3,000 to 5,000 jobs per year, most of which are related to manufacturing, energy production and shipping. Kurtz says the region will continue to grow because of its place on the coast and proximity to the Eagle Ford and Permian. In addition to petrochemical expansions, Kurtz and Vasey are working with steel manufacturers to expand. In the steel business, access to recycled products like cars is important and the recycled products typically must arrive via water. The enormous feed of shale gas capable of powering a production facility is a major bonus for such operations. For Vasey, the long-term future of the Port will always be

linked to shale energy, including oil exports, but in the near-term the excitement the team is seeing is in ethane. “At the risk of sounding like the guy in the movie The Graduate,” Vasey says, “It is plastics young man.” In 2018, PCC will also add capability to store more oil and LNG along with infrastructure needed to ship LNG. Like the team from the West Virginia Department of Commerce, the state of Alaska, the Oklahoma E&P Continental Resources, the Port of Houston, and many others that will surely be added to the list in the coming months, Vasey and Pedersen share a similar sentiment: these are interesting and exciting times for shale. The oil and gas is now being supplied, used or felt by the world. Author: Luke Geiver Editor, North American Shale magazine 701-738-4944

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Increases in shale gas production combined with less takeaway capacity and evolving markets translate into a comeback for flare tech

By Patrick C. Miller

CAPTURE TIME: Despite a slowdown in activity and contract requests due to low oil prices, many operators are once again looking for the next best option for flare and shale gas capture and processing technology. PHOTO: GTUIT



In the world of gas capture technology, it appears everything old is about to become new again as the problem of selling and transporting natural gas emerges as a potential trouble spot for the shale oil and gas industry. Indications are that the ability to produce natural gas is outstripping the markets and infrastructure needed to support production. This has renewed interest in technologies to capture gas in the field and use it to produce energy that might otherwise be obtained from outside sources, such as diesel generators or the electrical grid.

specializes in natural gas liquids capture and gas conditioning at well sites. Chedsey says GTUIT is busy and committed to expanding in North Dakota’s Bakken shale play and the DJ Basin in Colorado where—despite investments in new infrastructure by midstream pipeline companies—they remain behind producers’ ability to drill and complete wells that produce more gas. “We’ll be increasing our fleet by approximately 30 percent next year over this year,” he says, adding that he expects the upward trend to continue well into 2018. In the DJ Basin, Chedsey says

Annual U.S. Natural Gas Withdrawals by Source Type in MMcf (1997-2015) 20,000,000 Gas Wells Shale Gas

15,000,000 10,000,000 Oil Wells 5,000,000

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Coalbed Wells 0

Data for this figure was taken from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (U.S. EIA) database for natural gas gross withdrawals and production (U.S. Energy Information Administration 2017).

Over the past two years, reduced drilling and completions during the low-oil-price environment temporarily threw a wet blanket over the need for gas capture technologies, but this trend is rapidly coming to an end. “By no means have the midstream folks caught up; they are still wildly behind,” says George Chedsey, vice president of GTUIT LLC, a company headquartered in Billings, Montana, that

DCP Midstream has put a hold on accepting additional gas into its system. “All producers are currently maxed out until August of next year—it’s a real issue,” he explains. “It’s going to put quite a few companies into major re-evaluation. We’re moving several million cubic feet per day of processing capacity for three separate clients. Some of it’s new build and some of it’s equipment from the Bakken.”


COMMON SCENE COMING: In plays like the Bakken or the DJ Basin, shale energy producers will run out of gathering options for shale-based gas and will have to utilize onsite capture technology. PHOTO: GTUIT

In late November, the Wall Street Journal reported that increasing gas production and falling gas prices in West Texas threatens shale oil production in the region. According to the article “…gas is fast becoming a major issue for companies in West Texas. Some drillers are racing to lock up space on pipelines so they can get their gas out of the Permian.” While Mexico is viewed as a promising export market for West Texas natural gas, the Journal article said gas-fired electrical generating plants and the distribution infrastructure to support them has yet to be built while pipelines to Gulf Coast refiners and export facilities “are essentially full.” North Dakota’s Bakken and Three Forks shale plays where the flar-

ing issue was thought to be under control provides an example of how the situation is changing. The state’s oil production has remained steady at just above 1 million barrels per day. However, with production targeting the sweet spots of the Williston Basin and improved well completions, gas production in North Dakota has reached all-time high levels. In August, a state record of nearly 1.95 million cubic feet per day was achieved, falling slightly during September. In mid-November, North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources announced that the percentage of gas flared increased to 17 percent during September—the first month the oil and gas industry missed its gas capture targets during the past three years of reporting. Lynn



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Helms, NDDMR director, attributed the increase in flaring to unanticipated problems involving maintenance, delayed right-of-way approvals and reduced NGL takeaway capacity. Currently, North Dakota producers are required to capture 87 percent of produced gas. In November 2018, the requirement increases to 88 percent. “We are going to struggle month by month from now until when we go to 88 percent capture this time next year,” Helms says. “We’re rapidly approaching the capacity of what we have out there for infrastructure. So we really need another gas plant or two by 2019 if we’re going to meet that 88 percent capture.” Although production restrictions in North Dakota aren’t usually triggered by unforeseen events, Helms didn’t rule out that possibility if flare reduction goals are missed for two consecutive months. “We probably need to be expanding our natural gas processing capacity by 10 to 12 percent a year,” Helms notes. “Ultimately, I think we need to add another 1.5 or 2 billion cubic feet. Industry has invested about $13 billion in gas gathering and processing. Our best estimates say they need to invest another $11 billion before gas production peaks. So they’re only a little better than half-way there.” One company that declined to be named—but had been actively pursuing users for its flaring technology in North Dakota, Colorado and Texas since 2014—says it’s now looking at potential opportunities in the Marcellus and Utica formations. However, over the past two years, the

company says its technology has received more interest overseas than it has in the U.S. Loy Sneary, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Green Energy in Bay City, Texas, is well-versed in the ups and downs of the gas capture business. In late 2015, his company was involved in a successful technology demonstration on a Hess Corp. well in the Bakken. He was in discussions with the company about other potential sites where the technology could be used, but that ended when oil prices tumbled, drilling activity took a nosedive and the problem of complying with North Dakota’s flaring regulations became far less an issue. But recently Sneary’s phone rang. It was a major producer headquartered in Oklahoma with operations in most major U.S. shale plays. They wanted him to make a presentation on his company’s gas capture system. “We’re in the business to provide solutions and we’re a business,” Sneary relates. “But the bigger picture is when technologies like ours and others can reduce that flaring and put the gas to a beneficial use, that’s a win-win for everybody. We’re conserving our resources. The companies that I work with are committed to being good stewards of the resources they’re mining.” In the gas flare capture technology business, it’s game on—again. Author: Patrick C. Miller Staff Writer, North American Shale magazine 701-738-4923



PROTECTING INFRASTRUCTURE: The Energy Infrastructure Incident Reporting Center is a publicly accessible online database in which attacks on U.S. energy infrastructure are recorded.

ENERGY EDUCATION: The Consumer Energy Alliance is spearheading a nationwide program to educate the public on the importance of energy in everyday life.



Getting the word out: Industry organizations counter activist efforts Two pro-energy organizations—the Consumer Energy Alliance and the Energy and Infrastructure Alliance—launched programs aimed at countering the messages of anti-energy groups. CEA kicked off a nationwide program in late October called “Campaign for America’s Energy” focused on educating families, businesses and state and local lawmakers about the benefits of energy and the critical role it plays in everyday lives and budgets. Thus far, CEA has launched its programs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. In November, Energy Build-

ers—an arm of EEIA— announced a publicly accessible website called the Energy Infrastructure Incident Reporting Center. It catalogs violent acts aimed at shutting down energy infrastructure and tracks criminal attacks on critical energy infrastructure. Toby Mack, who serves as EEIA’s president and CEO, has led the organization since its founding in 2013. Throughout his career, Mack has worked for trade associations representing companies supplying heavy equipment and related products


Well Funded & Coordinated

$121.1 million1 $14.6 million1

Private Foundations

$39.7 million1 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), Public Charities (e.g. Energy Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Tides Foundation)

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and services to the construction, energy, mining and forestry industries in North America. The announcement of the Energy Builders’ reporting center coincided with a bipartisan letter

from 84 members of Congress asking U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about whether the Department of Justice had the authority to deal with those who attacked energy infrastructure and


whether it intended to prosecute them. “We’re very concerned about the increasing incidents of illegal and sometimes violent acts against energy infrastructure—oil and gas pipeline infrastructure particularly,” Mack said. “The purpose of the database is to collect all of that information in one place and archive it so that anybody interested in knowing more about it can see the types, the frequency and the locations of those kinds of acts of violence against this infrastructure. It’s useful to catalog those things so that when something arises, becomes a story for a few days and then fades away, it’s not completely forgotten.” Housed on the Energy Builders’ website, the incident reporting center enables the public to enter information on energy infrastructure attacks or vandalism in their area. Mack said the information is vetted before being recorded in the archive to make certain each incident is factual and correct.

“If it rises to the level that we think deserves to be recorded, we would then enter the details into the database,” he explained. CEA’s education campaign focuses on holding the energy industry to a higher safety standard while bringing greater awareness to public officials, leaders and communities. The campaign also discusses how rejecting or delaying energy production, delivery and diversity hurts lower-income households and those on fixed incomes. “Energy should be a nonpartisan issue because it is something that both impacts and sustains everyone,” said David Holt, CEA president. “Protecting the environment is also a non-partisan issue because everyone wants a cleaner environment. Through new advancements in technology and innovation, everyone wins, because we can make energy more affordable and provide a healthy model for energy production that protects our environment and improves our communities.” The launch of a national

movement—aimed at balancing and depoliticizing the energy discussion—gives families and elected officials a balanced perspective to help advance policies that support energy production and delivery, as well as environmental standards. The effort will comprise a full-scale awareness program that includes new educational websites, media, community and stakeholder outreach, targeted digital advocacy efforts, and grassroots events and activities. CEA’s campaign comes at a critical time when Americans, on average, spend more than $3,500 annually on energy-related costs. For a low-income consumer living at the poverty line, that could mean up to 29 percent of their individual income. According to the Census Bureau, more than 40 million Americans live in poverty, and 13.5 million are out of work or searching for full-time jobs. “Americans shouldn’t have to choose between heating and cooling their homes, buying their next meal or filling their next medical prescription, yet too many are

having to do just that,” Holt said. “We agree that the environment is vital to our future, and we’ll continue to hold industry to higher standards.” Mack said that the oil and gas industry should be prepared for a long-term fight with those who oppose fossil fuels and the building of infrastructure to support the energy industry. “The opposition isn’t going to go away,” he noted. “They’ll continue to innovate in their own way, so we’ve got to be very flexible and responsive and just be out there with all of the positive messages. If a bigger portion of the public understands the value, the benefits and the importance of oil and gas to their lives and their families and communities and careers, the extremist messages will get a lot less traction in the court of public opinion.” Author: Patrick C. Miller Staff Writer, North American Shale magazine 701-738-4923

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Issue 6 2017 - North American Shale magazine  
Issue 6 2017 - North American Shale magazine  

The North American Shale magazine is the #1 Source of news and information about shale energy business and communities in North America.