The U.S. onshore well count will decline by 26 percent, from more than 37,000 in 2014 to an estimated 27,000 in 2015, as the decline in oil prices prompted many operators to cut their 2015 spending plans, according to a recent estimate by Wood Mackenzie.
North American drilling and completion expenditures exceeded $140 billion in 2014, but Wood Mackenzie expects operators to commit less than $90 billion to upstream development over the next 12 months.
“Such sizeable cuts will have serious implications across the oilfield services sector,” said Wood Mackenzie in a statement.
Using its North America Supply Chain Analysis Tool, Wood Mackenzie forecasts that rig day rates will decline by 30 percent, while the rig count will drop from an annual average of nearly 1,800 in 2014 to under 1,300 in 2015. This decline will curtail demand in other services sector markets, including tubulars, drilling services, frac proppant and pressure pumping.
Well activity will decline more quickly in oil plays such as the Niobrara and Bakken versus plays such as the Eagle Ford and Marcellus, Scott Mitchell, supply chain analyst with Wood Mackenzie, told Rigzone. While the Marcellus gas play is still more favorable in terms of economics versus the Haynesville, economics in the Marcellus are a struggle too.
As the drilling rig market goes slack, Mitchell sees the potential for older, less efficient rigs to be retired or moved as companies favor using bigger, more efficient rigs. Wood Mackenzie views cost pressures as higher on the drilling side versus completions side. Even if drilling slows, support could continue for pressure pumping market as companies hydraulic refracture existing wells versus new wells. On the completion end, Wood Mackenzie sees a potential cost reduction of 15 percent.