Trust What You See In Shale

If it feels like you have seen this before, you are right, and wrong. The term “boom” hasn’t officially resurfaced as a catchphrase chosen to label the state of shale energy production, but in West Texas, there is a new sense of optimism.
By Luke Geiver | March 23, 2017

If it feels like you have seen this before, you are right—and wrong. Major shale plays in Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Colorado are ramping up. There are talks of workforce shortages again. Service costs are trending higher. The rig count arrow is pointing up with no indication of change. The term “boom” hasn’t officially resurfaced as a catchphrase chosen to label the state of shale energy production, but in West Texas, there have been new, creative terms like “Permania” used to describe the new pace of investment and field work taking place.

All of this feels similar to the pre-shale-downturn that preceded the period of 2014-'16 when oil prices took a historic roller coaster ride, dipping into the $20/b range. But, we all know this round of renewed activity, this era of shale energy’s brief history will be different (at least we hope). In our inaugural issue, we focused on the variables—from play-specific breakeven prices to the elements that will impact service prices—that will guide the new narrative of shale.

In, “The State of Shale,” on page 12, we included insight from operators, frack sand providers, service companies, analysts and researchers on what’s different or the same this time around in the many shale patches of North America. It seemed like the perfect time to produce such a massive, all-encompassing piece on the health and trajectory of the unconventional oil and gas production industry in the U.S., just like it felt appropriate (and exciting) to launch this print and online offering. As I said to start, given the enormity of the industry and the familiarity the world now has with the presence of shale energy development, it is as if North American Shale magazine has always existed and been available as an important resource. Our efforts are the natural expansion of The Bakken magazine, published by BBI International, since April 2013 to the present. As our view of where the Bakken play fits into the continent’s larger shale story matured, it became clear that we can better serve all our constituents by expanding the scope of our coverage. We’ll be writing stories on the interconnected, fast-paced changes, challenges and opportunities present in the Permian, Eagle Ford, and other plays, as well as those in the Bakken. We welcome current and new readers to North American Shale

With a new era kicking-off this year, it seemed fitting to concentrate on revamped technology and operating strategies that have evolved to meet the altered demands of oilfield entities. Patrick C. Miller, staff writer, spoke with two oilfield majors—Weatherford and GE Oil & Gas—to gain insight into their respective artificial lift advances designed specifically for shale pumping sites. For a global entity as large as GE Oil & Gas to tell Miller it brings the full weight of its global research and development team to its shale-based equipment upgrades, there is clearly a push to upgrade and improve the way the industry works.

Goodnight Midstream, a Dallas-based water handling and service provider that got its start in the Bakken circa 2011 and is now expanding into the Permian, was our way in to revealing how service firms have altered their mindset in this new period of unconventional oil and gas production. The feature, on page 28, was a fitting way to highlight the changes we’ve all seen or experienced in the past two years and also more recently. Time will tell if what we are seeing now is truly close to something we’ve seen before, or, if our times ahead in June, July, August and well beyond that, will be a uniquely prosperous period in the history of North American shale. Trust us, we’ll be there to cover what happens. We, like you and millions more, are part of the story.


Luke Geiver
North American Shale magazine