Southwestern Energy Future and Activity Levels

    In a recent activity, the natural gas producer Southwestern Energy (SWN) forged a deal with Flywheel Energy, LLC (founded last year with the backing of Kayne Private Energy Income Funds) to sell off its Fayetteville Shale E&P and related midstream gathering assets for $1.865 billion in cash. SWN’s assets in the region include approximately 915,000 net acres, 4033 production wells, 3.7 Tcf of reserves, anticipated 2019 production of 225 to 230 Bcf and midstream gathering infrastructure and compression. In addition to the deal, Flywheel Energy will assume approximately $438 million of future contractual liabilities of SWN. The aforementioned deal is expected to close in December 2018.

     SWN founded in Arkansas (aka Fayetteville) sold off its native state assets shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone. SWN’s own share has fallen from $39 in 2014 to $5 in 2018. As per a statement made by SWN’s President and CEO, Bill Way, the company will now focus more on its higher margin Southwest and Northeast Appalachia assets. They invested over $600 million in the next two years to further develop their liquid-rich Appalachia assets and will accelerate the path to self-funding.

Operational Performance of SWE

     According to our data, SWN, in 2017, had a weekly average frac job count (reflects the number of completions performed by the company) of 4 with the highest of 7 being achieved in 14th week. In 2018 (up to July), the company has a weekly average frac job count of 6 with the highest of 9 being achieved in the 17th week (see Figure 1). This clearly shows they companies stronger operational performance in the year 2018 as compared to the previous year.

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Figure 1

     In terms of frac spread count (pressure pumpers or fleets used by the company), SWN had a weekly average of 4.5 in 2017, whereas in 2018 (up to July 2018) the company had a weekly average of 6 (see Figure 2).

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Figure 2

We Know Who Gets the Job Done

        Does your company need to know who is servicing the operators in your region?  Oil companies rarely publish data on their service companies, so Primary Vision has developed techniques for estimating hydraulic fracturing equipment activity in the United States and Alberta, Canada using numerous target sources.  Drop us a line at info@pvmic.com if you want to learn more about our data.

We also released a new report on fracspreadcount.com that highlights prolific operators, pumpers by proppants, spreads and completions.  Order it today!

Bitcoin vs. Crude: The First Act

    Bitcoin had a remarkable run in 2017. Many traders and speculators even suggested Bitcoin to be a long-term asset class that may be used in portfolio construction with proper diversification.

    On the other hand, oil being one of the largest traded commodities has been one of the most valuable economic indicators. The largest traded commodities of oil are WTI and Brent whose price has always been quoted in dollars (USD). WTI, or Western Texas Intermediate, is extracted from U.S. oil fields. This variety of crude is considered very sweet and light (technically medium as its density is lower and sweeter because of the low percentage of sulfur). Brent crude has similar qualities (low sulfur and density) originates from the Black Sea and is typically the benchmark for pricing for multiple regions inside Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East.

We looked to see if any correlations exist between Bitcoin and Crude.

    Crude has always had an interesting correlation with the US dollar.  When the dollar strengthens, oil prices fall and vice versa. This correlation has however begun to change after the shale revolution where US imports of oil have reduced drastically by almost 60% from 2008. [Business Insider] On the other hand, the volatility of  cryptocurrency prices is based on a multitude of factors ranging from governments banning crypto trading to certain individual and institutional investors. The sudden spike and correction in the past year has largely been due to market speculation by wealthy crypto traders.

    One of the main reasons for the strength in the US Dollar has been an increase crude prices. As has been seen in fig 1 and 2 below, both Brent and WTI prices have increased since July of last year while Bitcoin prices were relatively flat.

    Rising oil prices have been tied to a long history of issues related to supply and demand, geopolitical unrest etc. etc. Recently Iranian oil exports started declining resulting in a surge in oil prices as Iran produces around 2 % of the global oil supplies (equivalent to 3.8 million barrels per day as of April 2018). Besides Iran, the on-going tensions in Saudi Arabia and Iran, continuing conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen have also impacted oil pricing. There are emerging disagreements with Saudi Arabia and USA over no action being taken in the story of Hosnain Mubarak, the former Egyptian president and ally of Saudi Arabia. This in turn could have an impact on pricing.  The point is that its hard to quantify all of these indicators at every turn.

WTI prices from Jan 2017 to September 2018 [MacroTrends]

Brent crude prices from Jan 2017 to September 2018 [MacroTrends]

Brent crude prices from Jan 2017 to September 2018 [MacroTrends]

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Bitcoin prices from Jan 2017 to September 2018

    Though the Bitcoin may have no direct correlation to crude pricing, there are strong possibilities this may change. The emergence of the PetroBTC – trading commodities like Crude in Bitcoins may be more profitable for long term positions. This could replace trading oil in USD resulting in potential devaluation. Countries like Venezuela, which have huge oil reserves have introduced oil-backed crypto-currencies that might help their struggling community. This currency is in its infancy and has been controversial to say the least.

    Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran are also rumoured to be moving towards petro-crypto-currencies. The question that remains is how the US dollar will unfold if the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and major oil producing countries begin to trade oil with Bitcoins.  Following the USD and Bitcoin story may be without drama in its first act, but for how long?

We Know Who Gets the Job Done

        Does your company need to know who is servicing the operators in your region?  Oil companies rarely publish data on their service companies, so Primary Vision has developed techniques for estimating hydraulic fracturing equipment activity in the United States and Alberta, Canada using numerous target sources.  Drop us a line at info@pvmic.com if you want to learn more about our data.

We also released a new report on fracspreadcount.com that highlights prolific operators, pumpers by proppants, spreads and completions.