By JOHN P. TRETBAR
The weather in Western Kansas was responsible for some big swings in the weekly rig counts from Independent Oil & Gas Service. John Morrison of IOGSI tells us many of the state’s drilling contractors were unable to move their rigs because of wet field conditions. The weekly rig report for May 30 showed showed a 62% drop in the number of active drilling rigs in Kansas. The total in Western Kansas dropped by 15 rigs, the exact number added to the list of rigs that were awaiting their next location assignment. Last week, Independent reported a big increase in active drilling rigs in Kansas, as operators were finally able to move those rigs that were stuck in the mud. West of Wichita, there are 20 active rigs, up 12. That’s about equal to the number that dropped off the “pending” list. Drilling is underway at one lease in Ellis County.
Baker Hughes reported the largest weekly decline in active oil drilling rigs in six weeks. The count last week was 975 active rigs, a drop of eleven oil rigs. The count in the Permian basin of Texas and New Mexico was down by six rigs.
Regulators approved 18 permits for drilling at new locations across Kansas last week, all of them in Western Kansas, including one in Ellis County and one in Stafford County. That’s 382 new permits so far this year statewide.
Independent Oil & Gas Service reported 15 newly-completed wells in Kansas last week, three east of Wichita and 12 in the western half of the state. Operators completed two wells in Barton County and one in Russell County. So far this year we’ve seen 670 new well completions.
The Kansas Geological Survey reports a slight dip in monthly statewide crude-oil production, from 2.8 million [[“two point eight million”]] barrels in January to just under 2.5 million [[“two point five million”]] in February. Barton County producers added nearly 118-thousand barrels in February, Ellis County notched 182-thousand, the total in Russell County in February was 110-thousand, and Stafford County pumped nearly 79-thousand barrels.
The Kansas Corporation Commission reports 81 new intent-to-drill notices filed during the month of May, down from 106 in April and well below the 143 intents filed in May of last year. There were three new intents filed last month in Barton County, five in Ellis County, two in Russell county and two in Stafford County.
The government reported record U.S. weekly crude oil production of 12.378 million barrels per day for the week ending May 31. That’s 104-thousand barrels per day more than the week before.
U.S. crude oil inventories increased for the second week in a row. The Energy Information Administration said stockpiles grew by 6.8 million barrels over the previous week to about six percent above the five-year seasonal average.
America’s largest oil hub is growing even as producers and traders look to move surging West Texas production to the coast for export. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. petroleum industry is planning to add about 4.8 million barrels of storage capacity and as many as seven new pipelines to move oil to and from the hub in Cushing, Oklahoma.
Using natural gas and carbon dioxide to enhance oil recovery is not new, but it is now emerging for the first time in U.S. shale fields. Drillers in Texas are pushing natural gas under high pressure into older wells, and then capping those wells, in the hope of releasing oil still trapped in the rock. This is good news for the Texas patch in two ways: it reduces the flaring of natural gas, and it increases oil production by anywhere from 30 to 70 percent in oil wells where production had been slipping.
Industry consultant Rystad Energy is raising its U.S. production forecasts, with new records expected in May and at year’s end. By December they’re predicting average output of 13.4 million barrels per day. The prediction for May tops 12.5 million barrels per day. Both figures would be all-time records.