Drilling Fluids & Chemicals Market in the US by Product and Location

Drilling Fluids & Chemicals Market in the US by Product and Location

A Recovery in Drilling Activity Will Spur Demand for Drilling Fluids

Oil Drill

US demand for drilling fluids is forecast to increase 11% per year to 1.45 billion gallons in 2021, while demand for drilling fluid additives is forecast to increase 13% per year to $930 million in 2021. Growth will be driven by the recovery in drilling activity following the steep downturn in 2015 and 2016, which resulted from oil benchmark price collapse. Although the rebound in drilling activity and recovery in demand for drilling fluids and additives of drilling fluids will be strong, it is not expected to reach peak levels through 2021. Oil and gas prices are forecast to remain well below the high water marks seen in the past 10 years, limiting further advances.

Key Findings in the Drilling Fluids & Chemicals Study:

Horizontal Drilling Increased the Demand for Drilling Fluids

Prior to the collapse in drilling activity in 2014, drilling fluid demand grew on a per well basis. From 2006 to 2014, the practice of drilling horizontal and unconventional wells spread throughout the US, becoming the most common well type. These wells require more drilling fluids than vertical wells due to the addition of lateral lengths in the wellbore. Additionally, lateral lengths continue to increase as operators test the limits of the technology to retrieve more resources from a single well. Going forward, it is expected that the proportion of horizontal wells and the average total depth will continue to increase.

Drilling Activity Will Shift Toward Economical Regional Markets

As a result of the constraints brought on by the current benchmark price environment, operators are dealing with economical restrictions that significantly limit the potential profitability of certain plays. Operators are faced with breakeven costs that only allow them to pursue resources in the most economical drilling opportunities. Operators seek out plays that have geological advantages or other cost savings opportunities like pre-existing infrastructure. Plays such as the Permian Basin in Texas and the STACK and the SCOOP in Oklahoma, valued for their stacked resources and high IP rates, will garner much of the drilling activity in the years to come given the current price environment.

Technology Is Advancing Drilling Fluids to Water-Based Formulas with Higher Value Additives

As a result of technological progression, drillers have come to favor certain formulations of drilling fluids. Water-based fluids are favored for their lower cost and better environmental profile. Additionally, as horizontal and unconventional drilling continue to increase well complexity and create challenging drilling conditions, drillers will favor higher value additives which are multifunctional and able to work in these environments. Unlike the shift to water-based fluids, which are lower in cost than oil-based or synthetic-based fluids, the constraints of the lower benchmark price market is not expected to prevent a shift to higher value additives in drilling fluids.

Study Coverage

This industry study presents historical demand date (2006, 2011, and 2016) and forecasts to 2021 by product (drilling fluids: water-based, oil-based, synthetic-based; drilling fluid additives: barite, bentonite, shale inhibitors, polymer viscosifiers, lost circulation materials), and location (Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio & Pennsylvania, Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado). The study also evaluates company market share and competitive analysis on drilling fluid suppliers including Baker Hughes, Canadian Energy Services, Halliburton, National Oilwell Varco, Newpark Resources, and Schlumberger.

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