Introducing the National Frac Spread Count

FSC-logoby Matthew Johnson

Oil prices are inching upwards, and if you want to make the most out of the opportunities in unconventional oil and gas production you need to know the lay of the land.  Primary Vision has just the product for you.  We leveraged our computing, qualitative analysis, and artificial intelligence capabilities to create an encyclopedia of frac’ing data on operations across the continental U.S. and Alberta, Canada.

Primary Vision Background

Our market intelligence and counseling company has been supplying data and data derivative products to the oil and gas industry since 2012.  We strive to give our customers the information they need to find markets, lower their costs, and raise their revenues in this challenging marketplace.  Our customers come to us to know what is happening in the oil field, and we give them a range of value-added data on the use of water, proppant, and chemicals in hydraulic fracturing.  Oilfield data is, of course, invaluable to upstream companies but it also impacts companies throughout the value chain.

That is why our Products have been trusted by leading companies from a diverse range of sectors, including Schlumberger, BP, Bloomberg, Shell, PWC, Phillips, HSBC, Cameron, Honeywell, XTO, EOG, and DuPont.  Proppant companies have used our reports to gain intelligence about their market, hedge funds have used our data to augment their own analysis of publically-traded companies, and private equity firms have used us to study a handful of Permian Basin counties for future investment.

Methodology Behind our Latest Report

In developing our reports, we target only the richest oil and gas data sets.  Our software tools and validation process are proprietary, but we can say that we rely on collecting a broad swath of industry reports, regulatory filings, and publicly-released information.  The biggest challenge with this data is that operators and pumpers in most locations make regulatory filings only every 90 days or so, and there is often a delay in that data becoming public.  We strive to close that Data lag with our own predictive model.

Our model relies on collecting data from a range of industry sources and rigorously testing it through business rules and logic to ensure our data sets and forecasts are as accurate as possible.  Our proprietary system was developed by a team of leading crude oil analysts paired with professors at Oxford University.  We are using modern math models, advanced cross-validation algorithms, and artificial intelligence to constantly test and refine our process.

Along with developing these massive data sets, we work on presenting the data for our clients in the most useful way.  We have charts that combine actual spread data with our predictive algorithm, and we also have charts that break actual data from predicted data.  We find some clients want our best estimate at what is happening and others want to see a breakout of what activity is confirmed.

National Frac Spread Count Report

Our recently-released Frac Spread Count Report is one of the most comprehensive products we have ever Released. Demand has been off the charts, as we combine easy-to-read top-line charts with more than 400 pages of more granular data.  You can subscribe to our report at  Subscribers get both a weekly update on the frac spread and access to historical data.  If you have questions about our products or would like a demonstration on how they can help your business, feel free to contact us at

Holiday Presents to Frac’ers


by Matthew Johnson

   It has been a rough couple of years for the oil and gas business.  Oil prices dropped sharply in recent months as America’s boom in unconventional production ran headlong into supply headwinds, but the once-mighty Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has done American producers a favor this time.  On November 30 the group announced its first cuts in eight years which would reduce its production by about 1.2 million to 32.5 million barrels per day.  The cuts were something U.S. oil workers have been hoping for, and oil prices have indeed shot up and set the industry up for a great new year.  Let us tell you about a couple developments we are watching and a potential stocking stuffer for the frac’er in your home.

Baker Hughes Backs Out of the Pressure Pumping Business

  In 2009, Baker Hughes, a GE company, purchased Houston-based BJ Services Co. for $5.5 billion dollars.  B.J Services was an oil and gas services company that traces its roots back to 1872 and by the time it was purchased it was one of the world’s leading providers of oilfield pressure pumping services.  Baker Hughes bought the company to expand its footprint in the frac’ing business, but the deal proved to be a financial drag.  Its frac spreads went from a peak of around 50 in 2015 to just 10 earlier this year, though they have come back some recently.


Baker Hughes Frac Spread Count Since May of 2015

    Baker Hughes is now in the midst of a merger with a unit of General Electric and on November 29, Baker Hughes announced it was spinning off its BJ Services assets. Baker Hughes is partnering with CSL Capital Management and West Street Energy Partners to create a “pure-play North American land pressure pumping company” known as the new “BJ Services.” It will be interesting to watch how aggressive Halliburton and Schlumberger are in trying to snap up more market share away from this new entity.

Signs of Rock Bottom for Weatherford

   Weatherford International has taken the downturn especially hard.  Back in April 2015 the company kicked things off with 10,000 layoffs and 60 facility closings.  The company was doing okay in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia Pacific at the time, but its North American assets were hemorrhaging money.  By October 2015, the company was ratcheting up to laying off 14,000 worldwide after its revenue was cut almost in half from $3.9 billion in the third quarter of 2014 to $2.2 billion in the third quarter of 2015.  By November 2016, the company’s CEO Bernard Durok-Danner was out of a job, leading to a 33% spike in the company’s stock price.  He was blamed for over leveraging the company to the point where it could not handle its debt after an oil price decline.

   Now, new CEO Krishna Shivram has been scaling back its frac’ing operations and may get out of the frac’ing business entirely.  If true, that will be a boon for the remaining service providers.  The company’s frac spread count cratered in the downturn and has been hovering below ten for most of the year.  The company may have arrived at a point where it decides to focus on other parts of its diverse portfolio.


Weatherford Frac Spread Count Since May of 2015

Get Your Primary Vision Frac Spread Count Report

   If you want to make money in the oil business right now, you need to know who among these battered rivals will rise from the downturn to take advantage of OPEC’s gift. Halliburton remains dominant at ~34% of the pressure pumper market, while Schlumberger sits at 12%. Baker Hughes 9% market share will presumably all go to the new BJ Services while Weatherford’s 5% appears to have an uncertain future.

A portion of a chart that covers pressure pumper market share from our Frac Spread Count Report.

   You can be the first to know what happens with our inaugural Frac Spread Count Report. We have been tracking onshore frac’ing activity for five years and now we are releasing our first report about active operators and pressure pumpers in the lower 48 states and Alberta, Canada. It is over 500 pages long and includes the count plus our expert forecasting, analysis, heat maps, details on regional activities, and charts on Permian Basin action. We also list out the top operators, service companies, and active counties.

You can GET the report today at:

Questions? Email 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.

The End is the Beginning for Baker Hughes

The-End-Is-the-Beginning-Baker-Hughes-Primary-Vision-Blog-7-29-2016by Matt Johnson

Over the last week or so we’ve covered the Q2 results for Halliburton (HAL: $42.77), Schlumberger (SLB: $79.05) focusing on the good, the bad, the ugly and accompanying activity measurements. Today we will center in on Baker Hughes (BHI: $46.05) which reported its Q2 results on July 28th, 2016.

Just a reminder that, Primary Vision focuses on frac data and therefore will highlight (and probably lowlight) BHIs pressure pumping activity.

The Good: As a result of the $3.5b breakup fee paid by HAL, BHI has already earmarked a 1.5b share buyback program and $1b in debt repayments. Due to recent job cuts and other internal restructuring they’re expecting their margins to improve throughout the rest of 2016.

Water Volume – BHI was #3 in water usage in 2013 and 2014.  They slipped to #4 in 2015 and round out 5th place, so far, in 2016. Just an fyi: The running order of water usage from 2013 to current (from 1st to 5th place): HAL, SLB, FTS International, Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD: $157.54) & BHI (this water usage list only has Pressure pumpers, and while PXD is known as an operator they’re also vertically integrated with their own frac spreads which enables them to control costs on a whole other level.  Read here to learn more).

Proppant Volume – BHI had the 2nd highest proppant mass from 2013 to 2015.  2016 numbers are still a bit murky.

Total Number of Frac Jobs: In 2015, BHI held second place with 1,643 frac jobs.  Through one quarter of data they’ve slipped to 3rd place.  In 2016, HAL holds on to first place, one can only wonder if BHI will ever re-gain enough market share to move back to #2. See the charts below that highlights BHIs frac jobs over the last 5 quarters.

BHI comparison chart

The Bad: While the merger breakup resulted in a $3.5b payout from HAL, BHI lost crucial market share in the oilfield services space.  Revenue fell 39% to $2.3b and BHI failed to cut costs in line with their competitors.

The Ugly: BHI has laid off ~23,000 people since the beginning of 2015.  One might wonder who really suffered as a result of the failed merger.

We took a deeper look into our database of frac jobs (~120k jobs in the U.S. over the last 6 years) to Show both the Frac jobs and Frac Spreads for Baker Hughes.

BHI frac jobs month by month

Note: The Q2 2016 data is incomplete as there is a lag in the data of ~100 days

BHI forecasting chart

Note: There is a lag in the data of about ~100 days. We continue to capture new data every single day (Running Frac Spreads = blue) and compliment the data lag with our custom forecasting algorithm (Forecast = orange). If you click on the chart you will better be able to see the chart labels.

Parting Thoughts:

BHI thinks sustainable crude pricing in the $60 range is needed for operators to increase pumping activities in North America. When speaking about near-term opportunity, BHI is looking to take advantage of the 5,000 uncompleted wells nationwide. Even with the negative outlook in 2016, CEO Martin Craighead said “We are well positioned for opportunities today and when (the) market begins to recover.

Their CEO isn’t being passive either as they plan to release a host of new products focused on technology and uplift to bolser their bottom line in the second half of 2016.

It will be really interesting to follow their next few quarters as they streamline and try to re-grab the market share they lost.


Amrutha Gayathri of ReutersBaker Hughes says North America recovery unlikely this year
Tess Stynes of The Wall Street Journal via Market WatchBaker Hughes Loss Widens on pricing pressure
Claire Pool of The StreetBaker Hughes Reports Loss, Paints Rosier Picture for Second Half of 2016

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.