News From The Oil Patch 4/20/2015

The Kansas Corporation Commission says most of the documentation has been received from operators of disposal wells in Harper and Sumner Counties that are now reporting daily volumes and pressures.  Staff has sent notification letters to those operators who have not submitted the data.  The commission plans to monitor injection volumes and any possible related seismicity for at least the next six months.  A total of 23 disposal wells are close enough to the five "areas of heightened seismic concern" in Harper and Sumner County to place them under the strictest new limits set forth last month by state regulators.  Those wells are operated by SandRidge Exploration & Production, Tapstone Energy (a startup by the former CEO of SandRidge), and Chesapeake Operating.  The KCC ordered 16,000 bpd limits at these wells within ten days of its March 19th order.  Data from year-end reports show just one of the 23 wells in the areas of concern exceeded that level last year, and one more was within nine barrels of the limit, based on average daily injection volumes.  In about a month, that limit will be reduced to 12,000 barrels per day.  Just two wells exceeded that average daily limit last year.
 
The number of active drilling rigs across the country has dropped by more than half since December. For the 17th consecutive week, Baker Hughes reported a drop in its weekly rig count, with 954 active oil and gas rigs across the US Friday, down 34 from last week.  The count in Canada was 32 rigs, up one.  And the company reported 11 rigs actively drilling in Kansas, down two.  The broad count from Independent Oil & Gas is unchanged from last week with 14 east of Wichita, and 33 in western Kansas, and 115 rigs listed as stacked or idle.
 
There were just 43 permits issued last week to drill in new locations in Kansas, for a year-to-date total of 729. There were 22 new permits east of Wichita, and 18 in western Kansas, including one in Barton County, one in Ellis County, one in Russell County and two in Stafford County.
 
Independent Oil & Gas Service reported 112 well completions last week.  That's 1,708 so far this year. There were 59 completions reported in eastern Kansas.  Ellis Coun6ty had three new well completions last week, Russell County had one and there were two in Stafford County.   Out of 53 completions west of Wichita last week, nine were dry holes.
 
Twenty-five major oil companies, oil-producing nations, and other institutions agreed to put an end to the flaring of natural gas at oil production sites around the world.  The Wall Street Journal reports no US-based companies have signed on, but among the list of those who have are Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, Kuwait Oil Co, Russia, Norway and the Asian Development Bank.
 
The Wall Street Journal reported worldwide layoff announcements of more than 100,000 workers since oil prices fell off a cliff last June.  Of the 91,000 that have since come to pass, most are in oilfield services and drilling companies.  Federal data show 3,000 direct oil & gas extraction job losses since the October peak, and some 12,000 jobs lost from the larger category of energy support.
 
Schlumberger said last week it would lay off an additional 11,000 employees, on top of the 9,000 layoffs already announced (corrected).  That takes the total number of pink slips this year to 20,000 at the world's #1 oilfield services provider.  On Monday, Halliburton announced it had cut 9,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year.  The company expects to lay off even more by the end of June.
 
A Texas bill supported by energy companies would prevent cities and counties from banning the practice of fracking on their land.  It's on course to become law after passing the Texas House last week.  The Senate and Governor are expected to give their approval as well. 
 
OPEC joins a chorus of prognosticators predicting an end to the boom in US oil production later this year.  The Energy Department predicts a decline in production in seven key regions by this May. OPEC's monthly market report predicted US supplies would grow to about 13.65 million barrels a day in the second quarter, and begin to decline during the second half of this year.
 
Saudi Arabia boosted crude production to the highest level in three decades in March, an additional 658,000 barrels per day.  Bloomberg observes the surge is roughly equal to half the daily output of the Bakken formation in North Dakota. 
 
BP CEO Bob Dudley appeared to have the early shareholder support needed to approve a 25% pay raise worth $12.7 million in salary and bonus for 2014.  
 
North Dakota oil production fell 1.2 percent in February.  The Grand Forks Herald calls this the first time since 2011 that the state has seen back-to-back drops in monthly production.  Preliminary numbers show just under 1.18 million barrels of oil per day in February in North Dakota.  Low oil prices have prompted operators to postpone bringing new wells online, a trend that’s expected to continue until June, when the $5.3 billion "large trigger" industry tax break could kick in.  Reuters reported as many as a thousand wells could be put on hold by next month.