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Posts Tagged ‘Marcellus Formation’

Vortex Tools explores changes in international business, how oil and gas valuations are changing globally, a recent publication on increasing well efficiency/profitability, and how to find the best Chinese dumplings.  

I have a confession:

I no longer eat Chinese food in the United States.

Not because I’m some food snob, but because in the last couple of years, we started stepping up our international sales. Before, Vortex Tools sold internationally to Australia, Canada, and Mexico (among others), but now we also sell into China, India, and the Middle East. Naturally, international sales often involve a degree of international travel.

In traveling to China every 12-18 months, I eat nothing but Chinese food for a week straight. Oh, and the stuff they consider breakfast food is what the average American considers dinner food, so being a guy that typically likes Chinese food once or twice a month, eating it 20+ times in one week pretty much kills my desire to have it stateside.

(Which isn’t to say I don’t thoroughly enjoy the food there. One of our contractors speaks fluent Mandarin and walked around looking for a restaurant identified only by a doorway. “We’re looking for a doorway?” I said. “In China? Oh, I’m sure we’ll find this place any year now.” Sure enough, the contractor asked around for the door that led to great dumplings and people knew what he was talking about. We walked through a doorway that led to stairs to a basement restaurant serving the best dumplings you’ve ever had.)

Anyway, international business is changing. Overall, the global oil and gas industry is changing, too. The price of natural gas has gone up in India; while in the States the price of oil fell below $80 a barrel for the first time in a year (October 2014). Both of these led to oil and gas operators valuing efficiency more.

oil 80bbl

When natural gas prices are low, no one wants to build the pipelines to recover these low values, so the gas typically gets flared. Gas needs to hit a decent enough value to get recovered and sold. For oil, however, if the price is high, it’s full on drill, baby, drill with no time to consider efficiency. As prices drop and budgets get tighter, operators slow down enough to consider how to squeeze out more value from the well.

$80/barrel for oil is actually a frightful marker for many larger companies—especially those drilling shale wells, where the production rates decline fast enough that they need to keep drilling to keep the profits flowing. Larger companies have larger costs, and some believe they can’t turn a profit at $80/barrel.

So that’s where we’ve gotten more traction with Vortex tools in oil and gas efficiency. After extensive testing in the Austin Chalk and Eagle Ford formations (Texas), data noted that Vortex tools recover up to 10 times more natural gas liquids than conventional methods like pigging (read: shoving a brush down the pipeline). The NGLs are valuable, so greater efficiency = greater profit.

A recent ONG Marketplace article on Vortex Tools’ value in the Utica (Ohio/Pennsylvania) and Marcellus formations (same as before plus New York and West Virginia)—including increasing NGL/condensate recovery, preventing line freezing, and keeping wells in air quality compliance—is available here.

I can’t tell you what country I’ll be in three months from now, but one thing’s for sure: I’ll decline the offer for Chinese food.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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Vortex Tools discusses the idea of taxing states that benefit from technological breakthroughs in oil and gas (namely hydraulic fracturing/fracking) while limiting its use.

A few months back, I mentioned that Fort Collins, Colorado, was considering a five-year moratorium on fracking (initiative 2A). Well, in November, 2A passed and the ban is on. Unlike Vermont’s fracking ban—which was akin to a land-locked state making rules against the ocean—Colorado actually has oil and gas operations to hinder, and these moratoriums against fracking bring new complications.

We live in a meme culture where people attempt (and fail) to summarize complicated issues with a picture and an oft-scathing caption. Take this Twitter pic for example:

Twitter anti-fracking labels pic

It’s actually pretty funny—noting how this protestor’s camp gear was essentially enabled by oil and gas production (same goes for your smart phone, FYI)—but there are several fracking issues that are actually concerning: For example, the amount of water used in fracking. Some put that average at 3-5 million gallons per frack job. Multiply that by the number of wells drilled in a year and that’s hundreds of billions of gallons of water annually. Up until recently, the produced water from these frack jobs was largely not being reused (though innovative companies are starting to change). It got pumped back down and stored underground.

With our sister company, SpiroFlo, working in both water savings and water purification applications, we know the specifics of how wrong this approach is, but you don’t need to be an expert to realize that, with a water shortage looming in 2020, this—and frankly, a lot of our residential water use practices—are unsustainable.

I’ve noted before that many fracking issues are not about good science (along with valid reasons why oil and gas companies are hesitant to own up to mistakes), but there are parts of the fracking practice that need to change. I’ve been to enough oil and gas conferences to know that the industry isn’t opposed to regulation, just bad regulation. That may sound like a good public talking point, but the anti-fracking group has its own questionable statements.

I hear people talk about potential alternate energy use (read: absolute best case scenario / rabid fantasy for wind power and solar) as if it could replace oil and gas today. Others say they want to ban fracking, but won’t own up to wanting to ban oil and gas use, period. Many of them don’t know that a ban on fracking is essentially a ban on oil and gas in today’s world (some do and don’t want to publicly admit it).

And what about cities and states that want to ban fracking? What are the consequences for them? Right now, there aren’t really any. A co-worker of mine has over 30 years in the oil and gas industry. He’s seen a lot of what works and a lot of what doesn’t. His idea is to tax cities and states than ban fracking, because they’re hindering energy growth (along with bringing back up all those foreign oil dependency issues people don’t like) while benefitting from the energy-reduction perks that stem from these technological breakthroughs. Shouldn’t there be a cost to that?

According to recent polling, most New Yorkers are opposed to fracking. While the percentage of that majority can vary, on the opposite side, most of these same New Yorkers have embraced lower heating bills thanks to an abundance of cheaper natural gas from widely fracked areas like the Marcellus Shale.

Maybe you’ve noticed cheaper gasoline at the pump in 2013. In part, you can blame fracking for that, too.

Overall, there’s a need to educate people on both the pros and cons of fracking (and the practices of the oil and gas industry as a whole). It’s not a quick and easy debate, and part of the responsibility falls on the debaters themselves.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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