The Big Red Mothership: Halliburton 2016 Q2 Comments and more

by Matt Johnson

Halliburton (HAL: $44.28) reported its 2016 second quarter results yesterday and things seem to be ok, all things considered.  The majority of this article will focus on their pressure pumping activities in the United States.

The Good:  Halliburton is #1 in multiple categories of U.S. Hydraulic Fracturing.  Their stock has increased over 30% in 2016 and has outperformed their peers.

Being #1 isn’t easy.

WATER VOLUME – HAL is #1 in total water volume (total water used) in 2013, 2014, 2015 and look to stay on top at current activity levels in 2016.
PROPPANT MASS – HAL pumped the most proppant of any service provider in the U.S. over the same three year period.  2016 looks much the same.
TOTAL NUMBER OF FRAC JOBS – In 2015 they fractured the most wells, close to 4,400 in the U.S., almost 3-1 over #2 Baker Hughes who had over 1,600.

The Bad: Revenue decreased 43% year over year (Q2 2015 to Q2 2016).  They posted a loss of $3.2b this past quarter (2016 Q2).

t h e   u g l y: Due to the failed merger that was realized on May 1st, HAL had to pay a $3.5b break up fee to Baker Hughes (BHI: $45.71). Venezuela did not pay $148mm in invoices (however HAL did secure a $200mm promissory, terms were not disclosed in the filing) among other impairment charges that approached $425mm. HAL commented that they’ve laid off 1/3rd of their workforce since late 2014.

Those are some 2016 second quarter highlights, or lowlights, depending on how you look at it.  We took a deeper look into our database of frac jobs (~120k jobs in the U.S. over the last 6 years) to Show hal’s activity by Frac job and frac spread.

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

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.

Interested in learning more about the Primary Vision Frac Spread Count or what a frac spread is? More information here.

We tracked, presented and reported on refracs in the U.S. last year at multiple conferences and quickly determined that HAL was on the forefront of refrac technology.  While producers and pumpers are still learning and realizing the benefits of refracs, HAL made significant strides in technology, technique and candidate well selection in 2015.  We think refracs are in their infancy and will provide a substantial source of revenue for producers and pumpers in the years to come.  HAL committed themselves to a long-term approach to refracs and as a result will stand tall as producers add refrac programs to their future plans.

As rig and spread counts, as well as crude prices, continue to level the market seems to be headed in a positive direction.  HAL has positioned themselves to be the lean and mean red machine that they can and should be.  They commented that even a modest uptick in the second half of 2016 would reap benefits.  Let’s hope they’re right.

Schlumberger (SLB: $80.60) reports their results today, July 21st.  BHI on July 28th.

Kaya Yurieff of The StreetHalliburton (HAL) Stock Higher After Q2 Results Top Estimates
ReutersHalliburton reports $148 mln loss from Venezuela operations
David Wethe of BloombergHalliburton Sheds More Jobs, Looks to North America Recovery
Natural Gas EuropeHalliburton Reports $3.2B Loss in 2Q
Primary Vision Frac Database
Primary Vision Frac Spread Count

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.

Frac Spread Count 2.0 – June 2016

by Jake Stevens

Have you prepared for the inevitable?

While a lot of focus is on permits and even the rig count over the last 30 or 40 years, we’ve been distributing a new metric that propelled Primary Vision into the mainstream in the summer of 2015, one we believe is the most important metric of frac activity.  We call it the Primary Vision Frac Spread Count (I might refer to it as the PVFSC or the FSC for the rest of this blog).

A quick summary of what the PVFSC is.  Simply put its a metric for the highest daily value of active frac spreads for a given week.

Ok great, but what exactly is a frac spread.  Well, lets start telling you what it isn’t.  It has nothing directly to do with natural gas prices (the crack spread), natural gas refiners (the fractionation spread) or the value gained from the sale of any natural gas liquid.

Primary Vision knows the who (pressure pumper), where, when, how many, and in most cases what the service providers are pumping, but it doesn’t stop there. We also know for what operators they are pumping for.

To summarize for every frac spread we know the following:

1) Days Active
2) Location
3) Pressure Pumper
4) Operator
5) Volumes of water, proppant, chemicals pumped

This allows us to know the number of active fleets on a given day and allows for the creation of the Primary Vision Frac Spread Count.

We give away for free, updated every week ,the Primary Vision Frac Spread Count National number.  This you can find here. Its updated by 10am every Friday.  Sign up for the free national report and you’ll get an email sent out weekly that includes the historical frac spread data plus the frac spread data for the previous week.  Use the chart and the data as you wish, all we’re asking is that you source us when using the data/image in a commercial capacity.

Its free, and yes you can get started today.

In a few days we’ll highlight what you get with the paid subscription for the Primary Vision Granular Frac Spread Count or you can reach out to us at to learn more.

What’s happening at Primary Vision

originalby Matt Johnson

Primary Vision is growing and is looking at 2016 as a year of opportunity.  Here are a few things that have happened and are happening:

We contributed to an article on proppant in HZ fracs just awhile back with BloombergRead that here

We contributed to an end of year report on proppant usage with the Petroleum ConnectionRead that here

We’re speaking about refracs at the forthcoming SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference at February 9th to 11th in The Woodlands.
Are you going?  Email me and let’s meet:
More information can be found here

We’re about to release our January Granular and National ReFrac report, you can learn more about that here.

We have finished our most recent round of updating our frac chemical database and boy is it something.  We believe we have the most comprehensive data set on frac chemicals available today.    Interested in seeing a sample?
Contact us:

Don’t forget that we’re now going into our 6 month of the Primary Vision Frac Spread Count.  Some interesting things are taking place with our granular frac spread count product in different oil segments.  Don’t wait another minute if you’re in upstream, midstream or a financial institution, you need this data to compliment your research.

That just brings us through the next month!  Lots more ahead of that.

Stay positive folks we can only go up from here!


Follow us on Twitter.

The Primary Vision US Proppant Mass Index

Back in February we launched our US Proppant Mass Index, if you didn’t see it you should check it out here. In brief, the index measures the average proppant mass used in a frac treatment across all US wells. When we published this last, we gave you information up to and including Quarter Four / 2014.

2011 – Q1 100
2011 – Q2 99
2011 – Q3 100
2011 – Q4 98
2012 – Q1 91
2012 – Q2 89
2012 – Q3 93
2012 – Q4 102
2013 – Q1 103
2013 – Q2 106
2013 – Q3 108
2013 – Q4 117
2014 – Q1 131
2014 – Q2 145
2014 – Q3 158
2014 – Q4 172
2015 – Q1 194
2015 – Q2 209
2015 – Q3 219

As we pointed out back in February, we were seeing an increase and its continued to increased quarter over quarter since.


We can provide a similar index based on our user’s requirements. Example Analysis: horizontal wells only, vertical wells only, directional wells only, by operator, by service company, by region or a combination of them all.

Please contact us for more information about these indexes, or if you have any questions about our capabilities, services, or products.

July ReFrac Report – Permian Basin Style

July Update

Primary Vision has been working hard to improve our ReFrac report offering.  We’ve added some additional charts for you focused on the Permian Basin, changed some charts that were hard to read, added a printable version, upgraded our delivery method from an attachment to a link, etc. etc.  A lot of changes that required a lot of testing and we’re not gonna stop there.  Look for us to add in additional analytics, chemicals and production before the end of the year.

side note: We’re also looking to add an account based system as well as additional reports (hint: Frac Fleet report)

In addition to our reports, we’re going to soon be adding production data, additional completions data and making our trek to the great white north (yes, Canada)!  All a part of the continued evolution of our comprehensive U.S. frac data products.

Survey Forthcoming

Some time this week we’re going to release a survey on our refrac report and a bit about what’s important to you frac data-wise.  Should be super easy, ten questions or less.  Thanks in advance!

Shameless Plugging

Still thinking about ordering our Granular ReFrac Report?  Get July’s instantly and be setup for August where we’ll focus on the Barnett and maybe one additional surprise. You’ll have to subscribe to find out!

How to Subscribe:

You can order here for just $99 (or jump on our soon to change yearly pricing of $899) that is packed with 30+ pages of information including…
Number of ReFrac’ed Wells by Quarter, Region, Orientation and Trajectory
Updated from June!
ReFrac’ed Wells by Year by Top 10 Operator (ALL and HZ wells separately)
– Updated from June!

ReFrac’ed Wells by Year by Service Company (ALL and HZ wells separately)
– Updated from June!

Average Proppant Mass by Proppant Type (ALL and HZ wells separately)
– Updated from June!

ReFrac’ed Wells by Year by Proppant Type (ALL and HZ wells separately)
– Updated from June!

Proppant Mass Comparison Between Original and Second Frac (ALL and HZ wells separately)
– Updated from June!
Heat maps for Re’Frac wells for each year
– Updated from June!
Additionally we drilled down into the Permian Basin in July, so additional slides focused on that region are included.

Summer is half way over, get outside!

Primary Vision Team

Marcellus Shale Market Trends Part 2: Is Average Proppant Mass Still on the Rise?

In our last post, we discussed a variety of factors that have influenced frac activity levels in the Marcellus shale, including continually rising natural gas production levels, basis differentials at regional market hubs relative to Henry Hub natural gas spot prices, and pipeline takeaway constraints. Reduced drilling and completion (D&C) activity by certain operators has been offset by increased activity by others. That said, there is little doubt that D&C activity would be more robust were it not for these factors. We also took a look at some notable acquisitions and divestments in the Appalachian Basin, the most notable of which was Southwestern Energy’s acquisition from Chesapeake Energy of 413,000 net acres and 435 wells with net production in September 2014 of 336 MMcfe.

Today, we delve into well completion designs that have been used in efforts to optimize well performance and what implications it has had for proppant use. In particular, we focus on 16 leading E&Ps active in the Marcellus.

With E&Ps in full-scale well manufacturing mode in the Marcellus, emphasis has shifted to increased operational efficiency to bring down or, at the very least, contain well construction costs. But just as we see across several oily basins, operators targeting both liquids-rich and dry-gas zones of the Marcellus (and Utica) shale have continued to fine-tune well and frac designs to optimize well performance.

In an effort to increase EURs and produce wells to their maximum potential, E&Ps in the Marcellus have been: 1) drilling increasingly longer laterals; 2) improving lateral placement in the reservoir; 3) increasing frac stage counts per well; 4) using shorter stage lengths (SSL) and reduced cluster spacing (RCS) completions (tighter spacing between stages and more perforations or “perfs” per lateral). RCS completions were first adopted in the Marcellus, and operators have been using the technique since early-2012. As Credit Suisse has suggested, RCS completions have become “almost universally adopted in the Marcellus.” Operators are more commonly evaluating well costs and economics based on per-lateral-foot basis.

In April 2012, Range Resources announced that 2 wells using RCS completions produced at twice the initial production rate (IP-rate) as compared to non-RCS wells on the same well pad. In September 2013, Antero Resources commented that using RCS frac designs in 17 liquids-rich Marcellus wells resulted in incremental frac costs that averaged 20% higher than previous designs ($2 million vs. $1.5 million per well). But the operator saw IP-rates increase by 25-35% compared to similar wells in the area. CONSOL Energy commented that when it first used RCS on two wells in early-2012, IP-rate improvements over non-RCS wells were not meaningful. However, the operator observed that after 15 months of production history, these two wells were 20% and 40% above the type curve, respectively.

What is the implication of all of this for proppant? Longer laterals, SSL/RCS completions, and increased stage counts per well all in isolation lead to increased proppant. But the contemporaneous adoption of all of these practices has led to significant increases in average proppant mass pumper per well.

We categorized 16 publicly-traded operators into peer groups as outlined in the table below. The E&Ps have collectively accounted for approximately 75% of frac activity in the Marcellus since 2012.

Notes: XTO Energy operates autonomously as a subsidiary of ExxonMobil and manages US Land upstream operations on behalf of its parent company; E&P categorization reflects that of Raymond James

The proppant mass index presented below uses weighted averages based on the number of wells frac’ed by operators within each peer group. The chart reflects growth of average proppant mass per well using 2011 Q4 as a base of comparison.


Marcellus Average Proppant Mass Index (12Q1-14Q3)

Sources: Primary Vision

The findings are rather staggering. As a collective, average total proppant mass per well is up 2.3x between 2011 Q4 and 2014 Q3. Our analytics reveal that as a collective group, average proppant mass per well has increased at a 32% CAGR between 2012 and 2014.

As this trend has played out, it has had cascading impacts across the upstream supply chain. After a surge of manufacturing capacity expansion during 2012 and 2013 led to an oversupply and falling pricing, frac sand suppliers have seen significant demand growth bring the market back closer to balance over the past ~12 months and have realized . Proppant logistics have been challenging due to chronic shortages of rail cars and truck-trailers as well as intermittently by weather. During 2014, operators have reported delays scheduling frac due to temporary sand shortages. Certain frac services providers have commented that proppant hauling costs essentially doubled overnight during spring 2014 – sand haulers appeared to be colluding by simultaneously charging a per-truck day rate rather than on a per-load basis. Some frac services providers have rushed to lock in long-term supply agreements with sand suppliers.

Primary Vision’s customers leverage our Big Data solutions to gain meaningful insights on the latest market dynamics and act accordingly. By staying ahead of the curve, they can make data-driven tactical and strategic decisions that help increase their bottom line.

Marcellus Shale Market Trends Part 1: Natural Gas Prices & Frac Activity

In today’s post, we discuss natural gas prices, frac activity levels, and some recent acquisitions and divestments in the Marcellus.

Natural gas prices at some market hubs in the Appalcahian Basin have been trading at negative differentials relative to spot prices at the Henry Hub, considered the “New York Stock Exchange of Natural Gas.” This has been driven by a supply glut and take-away pipeline capacity constraints. Natural gas production from the Marcellus shale has increased from approximately 5.0 Bcf/day in January 2012 to roughly 13.6 Bcf/d at present, according to research from EIA’s Natural Gas Weekly Update illustrates.

Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Production (January 2012 - October 2014)

Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Production (January 2012 – October 2014)

Sources: Primary Vision; EIA

Take-away pipeline capacity, especially in Northern Pennsylvania, was unable to keep pace with rising production. The divergence of spot prices can be traced back to mid-2012. Several new interstate and intrastate pipeline projects in different stages of development will deliver natural gas flows to other markets, including the Southeast US. These developments should mitigate the supply backup that has exerted downward pricing pressure. An exception to these regional market dynamics has been the TCO Pool, one of the Appalachian hubs where pricing has kept close parity to Henry Hub prices due its ability to back out deliveries from Gulf Coast sources and its pipeline connections that provide access to several markets.

Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Pipelines and Market Hubs

Natural Gas Prices – Marcellus Hubs (April – October 2014)

Sources: EIA

Facing these challenging dynamics, certain operators have decreased activity levels during 2014 relative to 2012 and/or 2013 levels, including Chesapeake (as further detailed below), XTO/ExxonMobil, EOG Resources, EXCO Resources, and WPX.

On the other hand, certain E&Ps have stepped up or maintained strong frac activity levels, including Southwestern Energy, Antero Resources, EQT, CONSOL Energy, Noble Energy, Talisman, Seneca Resources, and Rex Energy. Indeed, Southwestern Energy recently announced a $5.375 billion agreement with Chesapeake Energy to acquire 413,000 net acres in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania targeting natural gas, natural gas liquids, and crude oil in the Upper Devonian, Marcellus, and Utica. The deal also includes 256 operated and 179 non-operated wells, or 435 total wells, with a net production of 336 MMcfe/d (55% gas, 36% NGL, 9% oil).

Royal Dutch Shell, which has been reshuffling its US Land unconventional oil and gas portfolio in an effort to shore up its balance sheet, has announced a few transactions of late in the Appalachian Basin. Rex Energy acquired 208,000 gross (207,000 net) acres from Shell in a deal announced on August 12, 2014. The $120 million all-cash transaction added significantly to Rex’s asset base in a liquids-rich area covering Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer and Venango counties in western/southwestern Pennsylvania and Columbiana and Mahoning counties in northeastern Ohio. Two days after details of the transaction with Rex were made public, Shell announced two separate transactions, including a “swap” with Ultra Petroleum. The deal with Ultra involves Shell selling its 100% interest in conventional natural gas assets in the Pinedale Anticline in Wyoming in exchange for 155,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Utica as well as $925 million cash. Interestingly, the Supermajor describes these newly-acquired assets in northcentral Pennsylvania as “highly attractive exploration acreage” rather than clearly-delineated development acreage. The second transaction announced involves Shell selling 100% of its Haynesville shale assets in Louisiana, including associated field facilities and infrastructure, to Vine Oil & Gas LP and its financial sponsor, the Blackstone Group, for $1.2 billion. Shell appears to simultaneously be demonstrating its belief in the long-term value proposition of the Marcellus and Utica, but appears more inclined to focus on dry gas production instead of what may be for the operator less economic wet gas production. Either way, Shell’s well construction costs in the Appalachian Basin are certainly lower than in its recently-divested dry gas Haynesville assets. It will be interesting to see how Shell’s plans and regional natural gas prices will affect its medium- and long-term returns.

Similar to major basins across US Land, many operators active in the Marcellus have managed to bring well costs down due to increased drilling and completion efficiency, driven primarily by the more common practice and larger scale of multi-well pad operations. E&Ps have also managed to exert pricing leverage on vendors, particularly frac services providers that are competing in a market oversupplied with pressure pumping capacity. Recent commodity price weakness has been well-document in the news, but operators such as Occidental Petroleum and oilfield service providers such as Halliburton remain optimistic and report that activity levels recently have not materially changed.

In Part 2 of our analysis on the Marcellus, we will discuss proppant market trends. Stay tuned!