By JOHN P. TRETBAR
The national weekly drilling rig count was essentially unchanged, but the counts in Kansas are up 15%. Baker Hughes reported 952 active drilling rigs as of Friday, up two oil rigs, but down two gas rigs. Canada’s totals were up 16 to 191 active rigs. Independent Oil & Gas Service reports 14 active rigs in eastern Kansas, up one, and 24 west of Wichita, up four for the week. Statewide, there were two fewer inactive rigs (156), compared to 173 inactive rigs a year ago. They’re moving in completion tools at two sites in Barton County and one in Ellis County.
Independent Oil & Gas Service reported 25 well completions last week; none of them were dry holes. There were 17 completions east of Wichita and eight in western Kansas.
There were 28 new permits filed for drilling at new locations across Kansas last week, 18 east of Wichita and ten in western Kansas, including one new permit in Russell County.
The final monthly totals for June from Independent Oil and Gas Service are not far off what we reported after the last weekly report in June. 100 completions for the month statewide, 661 so far this year. There were four new completions in Barton County last month, four in Ellis County, four in Russell County and three in Stafford County.
There were 116 new drilling permits filed last month, 718 so far this year. There were four new permits filed in Barton County last month, three in Ellis County, one in Russell County and one in Stafford County.
The new “Red Book” from Independent Oil & Gas Service is now available. This is the 23rd edition of the most widely used petroleum directory in the state, including listings for over 4,300 individuals and business in the oil and gas industry in Kansas. Find out more at their Web site at www.iogsi.com. Among the information in the 2017 Red Book is the new list of “most active” operators. They are Merit Energy, Palomino Petroleum, American Warrior, R J Energy, Murfin Drilling, Berexco, Colt Energy, Cobalt Energy, American Oil and Mai Oil Operations.
Federal regulators have conditionally approved exploratory drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea by a subsidiary of an Italian multinational oil and gas company. The conditions include obtaining permits to drill from Alaska and other federal agencies. Eni US Operating Co. plans to drill four exploration wells from Spy Island, an artificial gravel island in state waters, starting in December. Eni’s plan calls for extended-reach wells that could stretch more than 6 miles into federal waters.
Prosecutors have dropped charges filed against a drone operator accused of stalking private security workers at the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Myron Dewey was scheduled for trial Wednesday on a misdemeanor stalking charge. Morton County sheriff’s officials said Dewey tried to capture the faces and license plates of two people working for Leighton Security last October in an attempt to post their identities online. Dewey says he was trying to capture the pipeline company working illegally. The Bismarck Tribune reports prosecutors dropped the charge Monday after a judge ruled the state did not provide enough evidence that the drone was seized legally.
Several small operators in West Texas told the Houston Chronicle they face increasing pressure from rising oil field service costs, in part because the downturn wiped out some of the service companies and allowed rivals to raise prices. With oil prices falling again, some are rethinking their expansion plans for the year, which were set at a time when oil prices were higher. It’s full speed ahead for some larger producers, who were able to lock in higher prices for future output earlier this year. One energy analyst says the industry is on track to approve twice as many major projects than last year. Wood Mackenzie said lower costs for big producers are enabling them to expand existing oil fields. The firm says oil companies could start up 11 projects over the next six months, after launching 15 in the first half of the year, with some 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent in reserves.
Some oil firms could face increased credit rating downgrades if crude prices stayed below $50 a barrel on average until the end of next year, and the companies don’t compensate by cutting costs. S&P Global currently has downgrade warnings on ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total. Oil majors’ debt levels totaled $300 billion in 2014, up from just under $200 billion in 2009 according to S&P.
Saudi Arabia will cut crude oil shipments to its own customers in August by more than 600,000 barrels per day to balance a rise in the kingdom’s domestic consumption during the summer. Reuters reports that in order to meet its OPEC quota and meet its domestic demand during summer, Saudi Arabia has made big cuts in international allocations for the month of August.
Devon Energy is touting a huge new strike in Oklahoma’s STACK play. The Daily Oklahoman reports the company is using a new design for well completion. One well in Kingfisher County reached an initial 24-hour production peak of 6,000 barrels per day. That’s huge even by Oklahoma standards, with recent production reports coming in several thousand barrels per day less. The well is expected to recover more than 2 million barrels of oil equivalent over its life.