By Mark Rossano

            Completions are ramping throughout the U.S. with a growing focus in the Permian, which is providing the largest percent of y/y acceleration. The Permian has accounted for 26% y/y oil growth, while only seeing 5.7% rig expansion offset by the staggering 67% increase in drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs). This highlights the importance of identifying the placement of completion crews that will turn wells to production. Depending on the location and source rock, it will take anywhere from 14 to 25 days to drill a horizontal well, but about 30 to 90 days to fracture the area to turn it to sale. Limits were reached last year in the Permian caused by a shortage of takeaway capacity and availability of hopper cars to delivery proppant. Many of the pipeline issues are in the process of being alleviated across all streams of hydrocarbons- oil, natural gas, and liquids.

            These pipelines are also coinciding with a shift in acreage positioning throughout the Permian as a bidding war has erupted for Anadarko between Occidental and Chevron. This will be the beginning of consolidation in the region, with targets focused specifically around firm transport (follow the pipelines). The oil pipelines Cactus II and Epic reaching Corpus Christi will be the first to enter service followed by Gray Oak (Houston), and PGC.  Enterprise has already brought on 200k barrels a day with their conversion with Cactus II delivering 670,000 barrels a day. In preparation for the new capacity, frac crews have gotten back to work to fill the pipeline as it comes into service. This view was supported from Haliburton comments saying that the “worst is behind us,” and activity is ramping in North America supporting revenue growth in the coming quarters as E&Ps focus on bringing more volume online.

            The bigger, overarching theme is the widening differential between WTI Cushing and Brent. While the U.S. production has grown, most of the new crude has been 45 API Gravity or higher with a large part being driven by the Permian (and more specifically the Delaware Basin). The new light, sweet production has also created a new grade of crude WTI Midland Light with specification of 43 API, which is higher than the WTI Cushing specs of 39.9 API. This creates a discount for WTI Midland as the world oil market remains awash with light, sweet blends, but increasingly short heavy sour availability. The shift is being exacerbated by the changing demands for refined products under IMO 2020- International Maritime Organization’s shift of bunker fuel sulfur components from 3.5% to .5%. Refiners outfitted with cokers are going to require a heavier blend, while simpler assets will only be able to handle so much light sweet crude before hurting crack spreads and economic capacity.

            U.S. crude will find problems at the coast given the lack of export capacity currently built, and the oversupply of light sweet crude in the market. The U.S. will average between 2.7M-2.9M barrels a day given the shortfall of coastal infrastructure but will be lumpy given timing delays on loadings as multiple VLCCs can be released for sale at a similar time. This is something that will take time to develop (with an estimate of early June), but in the meantime there are pipes to fill and U.S. refiners coming out of turnaround season, which will drive utilization rates from 87% to summer peak of 96%-97% over the next 4-6 weeks. This will pull more crude into the system and support well-head pricing across the U.S. The growth in activity will be centered around the Permian as E&Ps focus on producing guaranteed volumes. This will improve pricing across the crude complex even as well-head prices in the Permian maintain a $4 discount and Brent vs WTI widens back out to $10. The Brent/WTI spreads will be driven by the growing shortage of heavy in the floating market, which is going to be exacerbated by the cancellation of Iran waivers, Nigerian Bonny Line fire, Angola turn around, Mexican production terminal decline, and Venezuelan sanctions. These impediments will support Brent pricing, while a steeper discount of WTI will help pull more product into the market.

            The current backdrop supports the rise of frac spreads across the U.S with the Permian and Eagle Ford seeing the largest increase. The Williston Basin will also see outsized activity given the crude quality is “better” versus other areas onshore. As midstream companies get closer to final completion of pipes, Permian spreads will get closer to 180 supporting prices and supporting revenue growth (and more importantly) margin expansion in oilfield service companies. The headwinds will remain as current global dynamics take center stage, but the ramp is real and will support an expansion of frac spreads and proppant utilization rates.

Its Official: The Permian is Getting Crushed

     Crude prices have been declining the past few months as there’s a perception of an oversupplied market and added tension in trade talks with China. In October 2018, oil prices did bounce back as a result of OPECs announced 1.3 million bpd cut. Towards the end of the year crude prices witnessed levels below $50 a barrel (including touching a low of $42.53 on December 25) for the first time since October 2017 on signs of an oversupplied market.

WTI Crude prices for the six months year

WTI Crude prices Jan 2018 to Jan 20191

     Falling crude prices have had a direct impact on E&Ps. According to data from Baker Hughes, the rig count has increased from 480 in August 2018 to 488 in January 2019, however completions have since slowed. Operators seem to be hyper-focused on their drilling programs vs. their completion programs through Q4.  This is typical as they aim to reposition their hedges and lock in better terms with pressure pumpers.

     Analysts look at the length of laterals, frac sand quantities per well, and frac stages per well or even count the stimulation crews (aka frac spreads, frac fleets) to analyze production estimates.

     Our metric, the Frac Spread Count, does the latter and we’ve uncovered a slow down in the Permian that recently has taken a turn for the worse.

     The permian basin frac spread count has decreased from 192 (in June of 2018) to 140 (as of January 2019) representing a 27 % decline.

     The overly optimistic number projected by companies during the period of 2014 to 2017 in the Permian basin seems to have not lived up to their expectations. The below chart represents the increase in oil production in the Permian Region from 2009 to 20182.

Permian-Region_Oil-ProductionFSC-for-Permian      According to Schlumberger CEO Paal Kibsgaard, the trend in the Permian basin is similar to the Eagle Ford shale play, which indicates that producers there have run out of new “good rock” and are trying to get every bit from the known sweet spots. In the Permian’s Midland Wolf Camp section, child wells are already approaching 50 percent of new wells drilled3.

     This being said, many operators can hold on with crude prices hovering around $35 though they would be most comfortable in a $45-$50 range per our research. However, this will have an impact on new drilling, the DUC count (drilled yet uncompleted wells) and ultimately the frac spread count. With a 40% drop in crude prices since October 2018 pressure pumpers are being challenged to manage demand in a market where roughly 500 spreads are ready to work.  We’ve seen frac spread utilization go from over 90% to under 80% in less than a year.  Frac spread utilization will be challenged and from our research frac spread capacity is scheduled to increase throughout the year as pumpers tie their futures to newly opened pipelines.

      OPEC and its allies have agreed to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January, in a move to be reviewed at a meeting in April. However, in the near term, the key global trend to watch out would be Chinese oil demand and accurate supply cuts from OPEC and non-OPEC that may drive crude prices higher4.

    Our forecast calls for a stabilization in the oil markets, followed by a rally in completions as we approach the spring.  The issue here is the pain that oilfield service companies will feel in the short-term.

Will there be layoffs?

Is ofs consolidation looming?

Will we see more electric fleets be ordered that seem to have long term financial benefits?

Will we see operators continue to switch pressure pumpers in an effort to cut costs?

Are the oil markets really going to hold and/or rally?

These are the stories we’ll be following.

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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.


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).


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 if you want to learn more about our data.

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

Halliburton’s Frac’ing Surge Is Bigger Than Reported

        On March 6, 2018, Seeking Alpha reported that Halliburton’s frac’ing fleet was surging across the country.  This is, of course, a great news story for the American oil and gas industry.  The U.S. government’s statistical agency expects both oil and gas to hit record levels of production in 2018, and almost all of the growth is coming from frac’ing.  Halliburton is a huge part of this, though there is some disagreement over just how fast Halliburton is ramping up.

Who Knows What Halliburton is Doing?

        Halliburton has a strong foothold on fracturing services in the United States (see information box below).  They’re required by law to make some disclosures, but the company is not in the business of publicizing all of its work.  As a result, industry watchers are left to make their best estimates about what Halliburton is doing.


- HAL Market Share by Frac Job: 28%
- HAL Market Share by Active Spreads: 18%

- HAL Market Share by Frac Job: 27%
- HAL Market Share by Active Spreads: 20%


- HAL Market Share by Frac Job: 28%
- HAL Market Share by Active Spreads: 20%


- HAL Market Share by Frac Job: 28%
- HAL Market Share by Active Spreads: 20%

*data incomplete

 Our company, Primary Vision, uses sophisticated analytics to project real-time data
 on active frac’ing operations from lagging data sets.

        The article states that Halliburton grew its frac’ing fleet by 700,000 horsepower in 2017, giving it a total of more than four million horsepower of frac’ing equipment under its control.  The information in that article was supplied by Rystad, a Norwegian based company that offers consulting services and business intelligence to the oil and gas space.

        We have a slightly different view. Primary Vision estimates that Halliburton currently has 115-120 marketed frac’ing operations, called frac spreads as of the writing of this blog.  Each spread is powered by roughly 36,000 horsepower of pumping equipment and also contains other necessary equipment, like data trucks, storage tanks, and frac’ing fluid blenders.  Our estimates of both Halliburton’s active (108) and marketed spread count (115-120) ramped up much faster than others.  We think the company actually increased its fleet operations over the course of 2017 by about 1.2 million horsepower, not 700,000.

helpful definitions…

Frac Spread –  A frac spread (or sometimes referred to as a frac fleet)is a set number of equipment that a pressure pumper (oil field servicecompany) uses for hydraulic fracturing.

This includes a combination of fracturing pumps (also referred to as frac pumps and/or pumping units), data trucks, storage tanks, chemical additive and hydration units, blenders and other equipment needed to perform a frac stimulation.

Active Spread – Equipment that a pressure pumper has working or active in the field. 

Marketed Spread – Equipment that a pressure pumper has ready to work and available to work but might be in transition or in process of being deployed.

        We estimate that Halliburton went from 72 to 108 active spreads between the first and third quarters of 2017.  This run up, coincidentally or not, correlates closely with a March 2017 announcement that two competing frac’ing companies, Schlumberger and Weatherford, were going to create a joint venture called “OneStim.”  That idea was abandoned at the end of 2017, with Schlumberger instead simply buying Weatherford’s assets.

Where is the Extra Capacity Coming From?

        One unique strength of Halliburton is that the company manufactures its own frac’ing pumps.  The latest and greatest version is the Q10 pump, which is the centerpiece of the company’s “Frac of the Future” system.  Halliburton reportedly began replacing its pumps with Q10s in 2013.  When oil prices really began to crash in 2014 the company appears to have accelerated its retirement of the older pumping systems.  The company said some of its older equipment was being retired permanently while other equipment was being “cold-stacked” and could be brought back into service later.  In 2016, then CEO Dave Lesar, (he retired on June 1st of 2017 and was replaced by Jeff Miller) said that if the market ever turned around, Halliburton would have “multiple levers” it could pull, including accelerating the manufacturing and deployment of the Q10s and presumably also reactivating some of its older equipment (ie. Grizzly™ pumps).

        We believe that Halliburton has activated more of the old equipment than other analysts are assuming.  These assets were quickly deployed in response to both improved market conditions and presumably also the threat of competition from the likes of OneStim, other competitors as well as new entries such as Pro Frac, and Alamo Pressure Pumping.  As a result, Halliburton’s industry-leading frac’ing fleet contains a mix of both new and old pumps.  We estimate that Halliburton has approximately 4.2 million horsepower marketed.

Looking for data like this?

        Many businesses need to know exactly how much frac’ing is happening in the U.S. and Canda.  Primary vision’s flagship product, the Frac Spread Count, provides both high-level aggregations of industry-wide data and detailed information on each service provider’s activity in each region.  Our Frac Spread Count has grown in popularity since its inception in 2013.

Learn more:

contact Primary Vision directly:

Winter Has Been a Time for Frac’ing

    Primary Vision has just released the Winter Update to its flagship Frac Spread Count Report.  Many casual industry observers are familiar with the Baker Hughes count of active drilling rigs, but we believe it is just as important to track the number of active hydraulic fracturing operations, known as frac spreads.  These frac spreads are units made up of fracturing pumps, data trucks, storage tanks, chemical additive units, hydration units, and blenders.  We use cutting edge technology to tell our customers how many frac spreads are operating across the industry, along with granular data on each company in each shale play.

High Oil Prices Help North America Too

    The Winter Update validates our previous predictions that, at least in a number of key basins, the industry is focusing on completing already-drilled wells.  The drilled, yet uncompleted, wells are called “DUCS.”  Many analysts have taken to calling America’s DUCS the “fracklog.”  This abundance of pre-drilled wells allows American producers to ramp up production quickly if (and when) OPEC tries to drive up prices.

    Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the number of DUCS at a record 7,483.  Saudi Arabia is seeking to open its state oil company up to investors by the end of 2018, and it needs a high oil price to get the best possible deal.  To that end, the Saudis have been doing their best to enforce production quotas on OPEC members.  We believe based on our research that the OPEC deal on quotas is likely to hold for longer than most in the industry assume.

    Rising oil prices have a very direct effect on the number of frac jobs completed each year.  The count of active frac spreads has risen only slightly, because the U.S. fleet is largely already deployed, but the number of frac jobs completed is rising.  27,838 frac jobs were completed in 2014 before oil prices collapsed, and then the number dropped to 16,930 in 2015 and appears to have bottomed out in 2016 at 9,650.  Activity has now turned around and in 2017, 11,826 frac jobs were completed as of the writing of this article (PV believes the total will be closer to 13,000 after all completion reports are filed). 2018 will continue the surge.


More Frac’ing Than Drilling

    Most government and industry forecasts are overly focused on drilling and fail to properly account for completions.  Their data is also often based on information that is dreadfully out of date, as it can take months for well activity to be reported, if it is at all.  The EIA, for example, now estimates that U.S. crude will hit a record average of 10.6 million barrels per day in 2018 and gas will also hit a record of 80.3 billion cubic feet per day.  We believe these estimates fail to account for the near full deployment of frac spreads.

    Primary Vision continues to predict that companies will focus on DUCS, leading to more frac spreads than active drilling rigs in many regions.  For example, in the DJ Basin-Niobrara, active frac spreads surpassed drilling rigs in early 2017 and have maintained a steady lead.


    Similar dynamics were at play in the Williston and Utica plays.  We also look for operators to further explore the Duvernay and Montney formations which seem oil-abundant in western Canada.

Get Your National Frac Spread Count Winter Update Today

    Our reports are trusted by companies large and small, as they are a unique source of both industry-wide frac’ing activity along with more detailed data focused on each company and each play.  Our proprietary system collects data from countless public and private sources and uses sophisticated techniques to produce real time frac spread counts from this sometimes dated and incomplete data.  We also have detailed data on water, proppant, and chemical usage.  Get in touch with us today to subscribe to our reports or just order a sample.

Using Big Data To Map Out the Frac’ing Landscape


by Matthew Johnson

Big Data is radically changing how businesses makes decisions.  Where intuition used to dominate, companies are now thinking carefully about the kinds of questions that come up in their work and how Big Data can help answer them. In the oil and gas business, companies often want to know where drilling and fracturing is happening so they can find markets for their services.  Other companies want to get a detailed market outlook so they can determine if they need to expand or cut back on costs.  Billy Bosworth, the CEO from DataStax, one of the top cloud computing companies, has a saying that “Ten years from now, when we look back on how this era of big data has evolved…We will be stunned at how uninformed we used to be when we made decisions.”  This quote, now a couple years old, is still extremely relevant.

Ten Years from Now,
When We Look Back at
How This Era of Big Data Evolved…

We Will Be Stunned at How
Uniformed We Used to Be
When We Made Decisions

-Billy Bosworth, DataStax CEO (2015)

I was thinking about this recently while reading a blog post from Tom Smith at the Big Data Zone.  He interviewed a couple dozen executives involved in Big Data and then shared some interesting insights.  He says that companies should remember where data is coming from, and that “mixing corporate crown jewels with crap from the internet is not smart.”  Curated data must be cleaned up, and there are a variety of ways of doing this.  The real value of Big Data, in Mr. Smith’s view, then comes from continuously analyzing the data you have collected to search for new insights.  The best things to find in the data are “simple, yet valuable” insights that are easily understood yet not available from traditional data processing.

 Taking The Next Steps

The recommendations from Mr. Smith are very much in line with what we do at Primary Vision.  The “jewels” of our data sets are collected from a variety of target sources and no two databases are the same.  While the raw data might be useful to some, the process to which we validate this data is what separates us from the competition.  This cleansing process requires two important keys: time and customer feedback. This investment is an important one, one that will make you better at your job and ultimately your company more profitable so make sure everyone is on the same page commitment-wise.  you cannot leverage big data unless you’re willing to commit time and feedback to your provider.  if you take anything from this blog, its that last sentence.

 Make Our Big Data Work For You

Rarely we get clients who just want a simple output.  They come to us for useful intelligence about the fracturing marketplace in North America.  We use our data sets to produce analysis in a format that can be readily used.  With your help and time, we can uncover your jewels to help you make better actionable decisions.

The most recent offering from us at Primary Vision is the Frac Spread Count Report, which offers both weekly updates on projected activity and access to our historical data.  Customers can get the information in top-line charts that can be easily digested or through the reams of more granular data that we also supply.  You can subscribe to our report at  You can also contact at for more information or a demonstration on how our products can help your business.


Michael Li, Madina Kassengaliyeva, and Raymond Perkins at hbr.orgBetter Questions to Ask Your Data Scientists


The data presented above has a margin of error of 5-8% as a result of E&P and/or service company errors or incorrect data filings. Neither the information, nor any opinion contained in this site constitutes a solicitation or offer by Primary Vision or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities, futures, options or other financial instruments or provide any investment advice or service.

Halliburton Looks to Keep Jacking Up Prices


by Matthew Johnson

Every company treated the recent downturn in oil prices differently.  For Halliburton, one of the top oil and gas service companies in the world, the strategy was to gather up market share at the expense of profits.  That strategy seems to have been executed.  Halliburton released its financial results for the Fourth Quarter of 2016 on January 23, and the company announced a staggering operating loss of $6.8 billion.  The company did gain market share, but it seems to have grown tired of hemorrhaging cash.  It has started increasing its prices in hopes of squeezing profits from the market share it has so painfully acquired.  The early signs are good.  In fact, the company announced that it returned to operating profitability in North America in the Fourth Quarter of 2016. With completions on the comeback, this is a HUGE STORY to CONTINUE FOLLOWING.

Time to Raise Rates?

In his Fourth Quarter earnings call, Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar made clear that the company hopes to raise prices on its customers in the coming months.  We have heard the company is tired of subsidizing operators, and it is rumored that in key basins the target price increases will be as high as 40%.  Mr. Lesnar said on the call that towards the end of 2016, Halliburton made a strategic decision to stop chasing market share at the expense of profits.

Frac Spread Count for HALLIBURTON

U.S. Frac Spread Count for HALLIBURTON

Customers Looking Elsewhere

Halliburton has the massive scale, experience, and assets in North American operations to weather a price battle.  One of its top competitors in North America, Schlumberger, reported a net loss of $204 million in the Fourth Quarter, and it reported a desire to raise prices as well.  One of Halliburton’s other leading competitors (and former proposed merger partner), Baker Hughes, spun off its pressure pumping division into a new private company called BJ Services and then suffered a massive loss of $417mm in the Fourth Quarter of 2016 as it finalizes its merger with GE Oil & Gas.  It is hard to predict where these companies are headed after these transactions.  The changing price dynamics could open some doors for smaller service companies, and we have heard many customers are feverishly looking into low-price alternatives.  This push for understanding pressure pumper activity has been coined “Operator Fever” here at Primary Vision.

Frac Spread Count for BAKER HUGHES

Frac Spread Count for BAKER HUGHES (soon to be BJ Services)

Primary Vision Closely tracks Frac Demand

Keeping up with a dynamic market can be a challenge, but Primary Vision has developed a proprietary method for channeling the latest public and private data into models that approximate the real-time state of the market.  Our extensive data on hydraulic fracturing in the United States and Alberta, Canada is now available for subscription via A quarterly report or data subscription.  To learn more, visit or contact us at



The data presented above has a margin of error of 5-8% as a result of E&P and/or service company errors or incorrect data filings. Neither the information, nor any opinion contained in this site constitutes a solicitation or offer by Primary Vision or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities, futures, options or other financial instruments or provide any investment advice or service.

Don’t Sleep on the Coloradan Frac’ers


by Matthew Johnson

If you list out the companies with the most frac spreads in 2016, you are going to be looking almost exclusively at the heart of oil country, Texas Oklahoma and New Mexico.  Just go right down the list and you will see the market share is dominated by EOG (based in Houston, Texas), Chesapeake (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), Pioneer (Irving, Texas), XTO (Ft. Worth, Texas), Anadarko (The Woodlands, Texas), and on it goes.

Market Share by Operator & Spread in 2016

Market Share by Operator & Spread in 2016

If you break down the number of frac jobs completed last year, however, you can see that there are some fairly significant players basing their operations in Colorado.  Anyone keeping tabs on the business should watch these companies.  The energy business is in the Rocky Mountain region is succeeding and benefitting from Denver’s popularity.  It is routinely named among the fastest-growing cities and best places for business and employees.

Frac Jobs by Operator in 2016

Frac Jobs by Operator in 2016

Discovery Natural Resources

Discovery completed about 45 frac jobs in 2016.  It is a private oil and gas company headquartered in Denver.  Interestingly, even though it is based in Colorado, the company is currently focusing its efforts on the Permian Basin in West Texas.  The company touts over six million barrels of oil production per year from more than 1,000 wells covering nearly 120,000 acres of land.  The company has said that it is well poised to handle market downturns, and press reports back that up.  E&P Magazine reported last year that the Permian Basin was handling the drop in oil prices better than any other region and that Discovery has continued to drill and relentlessly optimize its operations.

Extraction Oil & Gas

Extraction Oil and Gas frac’ed 54 wells in 2016.  Like Discovery, Extraction is based in Denver.  But Extraction actually remains focused on producing in the Rocky Mountain region.  The company was founded in 2012 and highlights its work in the Greater Wattenberg Field of the Denver-Julesburg Basin (commonly called the DJ Basin).  The company just had its initial public offering in October 2016, and it was considered wildly successful at the time, however it appears that they’re experiencing some volatility as the calendar turned to 2017.  It raised more than $630 million at a share price several dollars higher than expected.  It was the biggest energy listing in the world since the oil price crash in 2014, and the company seems poised for future success.

Keep Track of the Marketplace

Data on frac’ing operations is typically cobbled together from months-oil public regulatory filings.  Primary Vision works to approximate real-time data by collecting public and private information and then applying sophisticated math models, advanced cross-validation algorithms, and artificial intelligence to fill the gaps.  Our extensive data on hydraulic fracturing in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and across the rest of the U.S. (plus Alberta, Canada) is now available for sale in our new National Frac Spread Count Report.  To learn more, visit or contact us at



The data presented above has a margin of error of 5-8% as a result of E&P and/or service company errors or incorrect data filings. Neither the information, nor any opinion contained in this site constitutes a solicitation or offer by Primary Vision or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities, futures, options or other financial instruments or provide any investment advice or service.


Pumpco Stays Busy in Texas

by Matthew Johnson

You can get an idea of how service companies are dealing with a challenging environment by looking at our data on specific companies, like Texas-based Pumpco Services.  The company has consolidated its operations near its home and it appears to be thriving.

A Leading Pressure Pumping Service

Pumpco Energy Services, Inc. was founded in 1982 by Ronny Ortowski, who had worked for many years in pumping.  The company provides fracturing services, using its high-pressure pumping equipment to fracture rock formations.  It also offers acid and other treatment additives to enhance production.  Finally, Pumpco offers miscellaneous pumping services, such as pump downs between well completion states.  It brags that its focus on service and controlled growth sets it apart from other service companies.

When the shale boom took off, Pumpco became a hot commodity.  It was acquired by Complete Production Services in 2007.  At the time of the merger, Pumpco had an estimated revenue of $96 million and three pressure pumping fleets in the field, with one more on the way.  Complete Production was, in turn, swallowed up by Superior Energy Services in 2012.  The deal was reportedly worth approximately $554 million in cash.  Pumpco has continued to operate under its own name, however, as a subsidiary of Superior.

Consolidation and Stable Activity

Pumpco’s controlled-growth strategy was probably not controlled enough, as during the boom years it moved a significant operation into the Bakken.  That operation, based out of Minot, North Dakota, was forced to shut down in September 2015.  The company closed up its Bakken shop, laying off 70 people and simply stating that the decision was forced by “economic conditions caused by falling oil prices.”

Since 2015, Pumpco has operated almost exclusively in Texas, with some operations also conducted in New Mexico.  The company had A MAX OF six frac spreads running every week at it peak in 2015, but in 2016 it ran between two and four most weeks.  That said, the company seems to have had a good 2016.  It has had several months with as many as nine frac jobs per month, after never exceeding eight in 2015.  The trend lines suggest 2017 could be a good year.

Primary Vision Has the Details

Keeping abreast of industry trends can be made so much easier by subscribing to the encyclopedia of data developed by Primary Vision.  Service companies do not provide this data to the public in real time, or in some cases ever.  We have developed sophisticated methods for collecting the available public filings and private announcements and using sophisticated models to predict real-time data.  Our extensive data on hydraulic fracturing in the United States and Alberta, Canada is now available for in our new National Frac Spread Count Report.  To learn more, visit or contact us at



The data presented above has a margin of error of 5-8% as a result of E&P and/or service company errors or incorrect data filings. Neither the information, nor any opinion contained in this site constitutes a solicitation or offer by Primary Vision or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities, futures, options or other financial instruments or provide any investment advice or service.

Macro View of U.S. and Canada Hydraulic Fracturing

by Matthew Johnson

Oil and gas production in North America has huge ramifications across the world economy, and companies in many industries can benefit from keeping track of activity in the oil field. The most common metric is the Baker Hughes rig count, but that only tells you how many drilling rigs are active in a given week. Companies can get a much more complete picture by knowing how many hydraulic fracturing operations, or spreads, are active in a given week.

U.S. Regional Analysis

When people think of the frac’ing revolution, they often think of the contentious debates over land use in Pennsylvania or the boomtowns of North Dakota. The real leader in frac’ing has always been Texas, though. The breakthrough in the unconventional revolution came in 1997 in Texas’s Barnett Shale, where Mitchell Energy engineers discovered that they could stop using expensive gels and instead use cheaper, more watery fracking fluid to crack open shale formations to get economic production of oil and gas. Recent data shows Texas has simply continued its domination.

The state of Texas holds more than 40% of the market share of spreads nationwide

As of January 1, Texas holds more than 40% of the market share of active spreads nationwide

Over 40% of active frac’ing operations, or “spreads,” are in Texas. North Dakota and Pennsylvania come in at 10% each, as does Oklahoma. Colorado has about 7% of active spreads, Ohio has 4%, West Virginia has 2%, and Wyoming has just 1%. Major oil producing states Alaska and California have very little activity on the fracturing side.

Looking at the Eagle Ford region in Texas, the data shows that the number of active frac’ing spreads has held steady this year, even as drilling has fluctuated. The number of drilling rigs continued its plummet caused by low oil prices all the way until the end of spring, and has crept up steadily since. The coming months could be very good for the region, where many openly celebrated OPEC’s recent decision to limit oil production. American frac’ers may benefit more than select OPEC members. The comeback looks to be slow and steady along with the accompanying production bump.

Frac Spread Count in Eagle Ford region

Frac Spread Count in the Eagle Ford region of Texas

Canada Analysis

Alberta, Canada is not all tar sands. Hundreds of wells have been frac’ed in Alberta in 2016, and the rate has been increasing over the summer and into the fall. The future of frac’ing in Canada is somewhat in flux, as it has both financial and environmental concerns. On the other hand, Canada’s largest driller, Precision Drilling, just announced it will spend 60% more on capex in 2017 than it did in 2016. While Canada’s recovery has been volatile, we look for pressure pumpers to demand more equitable terms while the market continues to stabilize.

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Primary Vision Explains Oil Field Activity

Primary Vision has developed a proprietary method for collecting public and private data on frac’ing and then applying sophisticated math models, advanced cross-validation algorithms, and artificial intelligence to fill the gaps caused by industry secrecy and delayed reporting requirements. Our extensive data on hydraulic fracturing in the United States and Alberta, Canada is now available for sale in our new National Frac Spread Count Report. To learn more, visit or contact us at



The data presented above has a margin of error of 5-8% as a result of E&P and/or service company errors or incorrect data filings. Neither the information, nor any opinion contained in this site constitutes a solicitation or offer by Primary Vision or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities, futures, options or other financial instruments or provide any investment advice or service.