Frac is Back

Frac is Back
U.S. fracking is set for its first monthly rise this year, according to a new Rystad Energy analysis.

U.S. fracking is set for its first monthly rise this year, according to a new Rystad Energy analysis.

The independent energy research company outlined that new fracking operations in the country are on track to grow above 400 wells in July, after dropping to a bottom of 325 wells in June. The business said its satellite data shows 246 newly started frac jobs this month, with 96 frac jobs beginning just last week.

According to Rystad, the running rate of frac activity in the Permian has shifted from 15 to 20 wells per week in May and June to 40 to 45 wells per week in the last three weeks. In all other oil basins - including Bakken, Eagle Ford, Anadarko and Niobrara – Rystad said its latest fracking activity estimates suggest fracking activity is around 35 to 40 wells per week since the beginning of July.

On the rig front, Rystad noted that U.S. land rig activity in oil basins seems to have hit “rock bottom” as the count of horizontal oil-focused rigs declined by one last week, falling from 157 rigs to 156. Rystad highlighted that other oil basins saw a net zero change in the number of active rigs.

“While there is only one week left in July, the availability of data varies across the tens of thousands of locations covered, with a possible reporting lag temporarily concealing additional fracking activity,” Rystad head of shale research, Artem Abramov, said in a company statement.

“We therefore estimate that the final July frac count might surpass 400 wells, and will return to levels last seen in April 2020,” he added.

“We anticipate nationwide horizontal oil drilling will remain relatively flat in the next few weeks, as some operators continue to implement modest downward adjustments, while others have started restoring drilling operations in the current $40 WTI price environment,” Abramov continued.

Rystad said the Covid-19 downturn had caused a “shocking decline” in new fracking operations in the U.S. As of July 23, there have been 3.8 million confirmed cases of the virus in the country, with 141,479 deaths, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO).

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