SatScout uses satellite imagery to reveal Permian frack trends

By Luke Geiver | October 23, 2018

New research gathered through daily satellite imagery reveals the impact infrastructure bottlenecks and differentials are having on frack crew count numbers and well completions in the Permian basin. Westwood Global Energy Group’s SatScout Service is responsible for the new data.

“The Delaware and Midland Basins are paramount to the U.S. shale story,” said Boyd Skelton, vice president of operations for Westwood. “The public and private E&Ps we monitor are feeling the constraints in the Permian market. You can see the softening demand for horsepower, frack sand and water based on the decline in last month’s observed completions. The market,” he added, “is fluid with operators acting swiftly to changing conditions.”

After a peak in well completions—510—that took place in June, Westwood’s team said completions in September across the Permian were down six percent to 472.

According to the company, SatScout can identify when an operator has constructed a pad, rigged up for drilling, or started fracturing the well with a frack crew. Westwood’s aerial scouting service can provide such information on activity of public or private oil and gas operators before the information is reported in quarterly earnings, investor presentations or via state regulatory organizations. The system utilizes daily satellite imagery and a proprietary algorithm designed to identify key stages of well development.

“We can analyze thousands of images in a fraction of the time it would require to do manually,” the company said.

Energent Group, a Houston-based energy and shale analyst firm, creates and operates SatScout. In 2017, Westwood Global Energy acquired Energent.