Title of Article
Have remote operations earned a permanent place in the oil field?
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AI Roundtable video
Regional Report story
February 2021
Title of Article
Have remote operations earned a permanent place in the oil field?
Plus sign
Executive Q&A icon
ROV Applications image
AI Roundtable video
Regional Report story
February 2021
A Hart Energy Publication
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February 2021 + Vol. 96 + Issue 2
About The Cover: Restricted movement due to global lockdowns has pushed oil and gas companies to reimagine operations and embrace remote technologies faster than ever. (Cover photo courtesy of Marc Morrison/marcmorrison.com and Shutterstock.com; Cover design by Melissa Ritchie; Bottom images from left to right courtesy of Halliburton, C-Innovation; agsandrew/Shutterstock.com; and vitstudio/Shutterstock.com)
Coming Next Month: The March cover story will focus on water management solutions and will include interviews with Saudi Aramco, the Produced Water Society (PWS), Bedrock Automation, SitePro and XRI. This issue also will feature a roundtable video on water reclamation and reuse with PWS, Oilfield Water Logistics and WaterBridge. The Executive Q&A will feature an exclusive video interview with Superior Energy Services CEO David Dunlap. The Company Spotlight will highlight STRYDE, a new seismic technology startup. The Regional Report will cover the Bakken.

As always, E&P Plus will include its exploration, drilling, completions, production and offshore features in every issue. While you’re waiting for your next copy of E&P Plus, be sure to visit HartEnergy.com for the latest news, industry updates and unique industry analysis.

E&P Plus (ISSN 1527-4063) (PM40036185) is published monthly by Hart Energy Publishing, LP, 1616 S. Voss Road, Suite 1000, Houston, Texas 77057. Advertising rates furnished upon request. All subscriber inquiries should be addressed to E&P Plus, 1616 S. Voss Road, Suite 1000, Houston, TX 77057; Telephone: 713-260-6442, Fax: 713-840-1449; custserv@hartenergy.com. Copyright © Hart Energy Publishing, LP, 2021. Hart Energy Publishing, LP reserves all rights to editorial matter. No article may be reproduced or transmitted in whole or in parts by any means without written permission of the publisher. Federal copyright law prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means and imposes fines of up to $25,000 for violations.
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Editorial Director
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Velda Addison


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Brian Walzel


Senior Editor
Darren Barbee


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Larry Prado


Associate Editors

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Faiza Rizvi

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Online Content +
Exclusives Available Only Online
Sunset through the trees
Haynesville Shale ‘private rejuvenation model’ takes spotlight
By Velda Addison, Group Senior Editor
An upstream oil and gas expert with IHS highlights the Haynesville Shale in a discussion covering markets, basin life cycle and the new economic model.
Analysts discuss growing pains facing US tight oil sector
By Mary Holcomb, Associate Editor
Similar to real-life growing pains, “it’s awkward and it’s painful,” but the U.S. tight oil sector is heading toward a healthier era, Wood Mackenzie analysts say.
EQT launches pilot to produce ‘responsibly sourced natural gas’
By Emily Patsy, Senior Managing Editor, Digital Media
EQT will seek to produce “responsibly sourced natural gas” from select wellpads by using continuous methane emission monitoring devices provided by pilot partner Project Canary.
Economics behind up-spacing trend in Permian Basin
By Velda Addison, Group Senior Editor
Spacing is a key piece of the puzzle for oil and gas companies looking to boost free cash flow.
Guyana-Suriname Basin tops oil exploration watch list
By Velda Addison, Group Senior Editor
Some drilling results, however, show the basin is not without risk for oil and gas exploration companies.
Oceaneering CEO Rod Larson talks energy transition
By Velda Addison, Group Senior Editor
The oil and gas industry should be part of the conversation, given some of the expertise it brings to the table, according to Oceaneering CEO Rod Larson.
By Jessica Morales, Director of Video Content
Exclusive look at Samson Resources II sale with CEO Joe Mills
Bankruptcy, a global pandemic and a successful sale—Samson Resources II CEO Joe Mills has been through it all over the years. Hear this industry veteran discuss his optimistic mindset plus how he thinks the oil and gas business will need to adapt to face the future in this interview with Hart Energy’s Jessica Morales.
Joe Mills interview with Hart Energy’s Jessica Morales
Future of oil and gas investments under Biden’s climate policy
The U.S. needs substantial investments in production to maintain current oil consumption, says Paul Goydan, Houston-based head of Boston Consulting Group’s North American energy practice, in an interview with Hart Energy’s Faiza Rizvi.
Leslie Beyer talks PESA, AESC merger
Former PESA President Leslie Beyer talks to Hart Energy’s Len Vermillion about the combination of PESA and AESC to form The Energy Workforce & Technology Council.
Leslie Beyer interview with Hart Energy’s Len Vermillion
What updates to Colorado SB-181 mean for oil producers
New regulations will add further strain on oil and gas producers in Colorado, Jamie Davidson, asset performance management expert with Vysus Group, told Hart Energy’s Faiza Rizvi.
View more exclusive video interviews at HartEnergy.com/videos!
As I See It text
Why it’s time to speak up
Clipart of people speaking up
The industry can’t allow its narrative to be owned and told by others.
Why it’s time to speak up
The industry can’t allow its narrative to be owned and told by others.
Clipart of people speaking up

n December 2020, I had the chance to interview Adam Anderson, CEO of Innovex Downhole Solutions. That was shortly after he became somewhat of a viral sensation among oil and gas professionals for a letter he wrote to the CEO of VF Corp., the company behind the popular outdoor apparel brand The North Face.

Anderson wasn’t happy that his order for 400 jackets with his company logo was declined because The North Face said it wouldn’t put an oil and gas company logo on its co-branded products. It was a curious stance considering the company makes its money by selling products made from nylon, a petroleum-based product.

Len Vermillion Headshot
Len Vermillion
Editorial Director
Executive Q&A over a plus symbol
Executive Q&A
Video icon
Q&A text
Halliburton Lab’s Scott Gale provides insights into new innovation program
In this exclusive video interview, Scott Gale, executive director of Halliburton Labs, discusses the program and its goals with Hart Energy’s Brian Walzel.
Halliburton Lab’s Scott Gale provides insights into new innovation program
Clean energy incubator program gives startups a head start.
Brian Walzel, Senior Editor

s many of the world’s leading oil and gas producers commit to carbon neutrality, the service industry is moving rapidly to provide the tools needed to help those companies get there. After all, operators cannot get there on their own—they need the tools and technologies that help reduce emissions and push forward new energy sources into the mix.

Company Spotlight
Varel Energy Solutions CEO shares strategies and insights
CEO Derek Nixon discusses the company’s new direction after recent reset.
Brian Walzel, Senior Editor

n November 2020, Varel International Energy Services (VIES) announced a new path forward, which included a new brand renamed Varel Energy Solutions (VES). According to the company, the “major reset” includes “a redefining vision for business growth.” The new strategy was announced three months after the company received a multimillion-dollar investment from Blue Water Energy. The deal brought on Derek Nixon as the company’s new CEO.

Cover Story:
Remote Operations
Cover Story:
Remote Operations
Article title
Restricted movement due to global lockdowns has pushed oil and gas companies to reimagine operations and embrace remote technologies faster than ever.
Faiza Rizvi, Associate Editor

he year 2020 will be remembered for many reasons: a global pandemic, an economic crisis, a historic price war, negative oil prices—the list is endless. But despite the cloud of setbacks that overshadowed the oil and gas industry last year, digital transformation was a silver lining that accelerated at a pace never seen before.

Call it adaptive mode, survival strategy or just plain necessity; oil and gas companies, which were already making steady progress automating operations, accelerated acceptance of remote technologies during the pandemic when workforces were grounded and a low-price environment pushed businesses to do more with less.

AI Roundtable
How AI is driving oil and gas market recovery
In this roundtable discussion with Hart Energy’s Faiza Rizvi, senior executives with RigER, Ambyint, Validere and Actenum Corp. discuss how AI, machine learning and analytics are shaping the future of the industry.
How AI is driving oil and gas market recovery
AI technologies can play a key part in the transformation of the value chain of the oil and gas industry.
Faiza Rizvi, Associate Editor

n an exclusive roundtable discussion, senior executives with four energy tech companies discuss how the downturn has accelerated the need to adopt new technologies and how artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and analytics are shaping the future of the industry.

“The pandemic has changed the mindset of the executives, and right now everyone understands there is no way to run business without digitalization. More and more executives are considering digital transformation as the number one step,” said Michael Maltsev, CEO and president of RigER.

Analyst Corner
Opinion: Energy transition and why an electric car is not the solution
It is time for the U.S. to take the lead in transitioning to a hydrogen economy.
George H. Lugrin I, Hall Maines Lugrin


apan has been an early mover toward a hydrogen-based economy. Its roadmap includes developing a hydrogen supply chain, increasing the use of hydrogen across different sectors, promoting hydrogen technological innovation and public buy-in, and promoting an international hydrogen collaboration. The Paris Accord was a big driver, as was the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. The latter event resulted from natural causes (e.g., earthquake and tsunami) releasing radiation into the atmosphere and radioactive isotopes into the Pacific Ocean. Remember news of radioactive debris washing up on the shores of Washington?

Reservoir Characterization
Reservoir Characterization
Generating value
from drill cuttings
William Hagan, Stratagraph; David Hume and Allen Howard, PetroScale Reservoir Solutions; and Michael Santiago, CoreSpec Alliance
A new reservoir analysis software delivers an evaluation for cuttings, logs and drilling data to improve reservoir characterization.


onventional cores, or whole cores, are solid cylinders of rock that can be brought to the surface as a single piece. These cores are used to model reservoir behavior to optimize production, based on the analysis of core porosity, permeability, fluid saturation, grain density, lithology and texture. However, the process of obtaining and analyzing cores is a notoriously costly one, calling for rig time, crew mobilization to site and subsequent analysis.

Drillpipe Advances
Drillpipe Advances
Digital downhole technology
enables better drilling
decisions with data and power
Ian Silvester, CEO USA, Reelwell
The focus on a reliable solution for powered and wired drillpipe has been a significant challenge for the drilling industry.


onstant technological innovation in the oilfield drilling sector has driven the industry forward over the years. Through advancements in PDC bits, high-specification drilling rigs, MWD, LWD and rotary steerable tools, technical changes have helped evolve drilling efficiency, performance and well placement.

Despite these advancements, the focus on a reliable solution for powered and wired drillpipe has long been a significant challenge for the drilling industry.

Completions: Well Interference
Completions: Well Interference
Simultaneous fluid
tracking during
completions operations
Sam Young, Deep Imaging
A new and advanced workflow images fracturing fluid placement in real time.

he oil and gas industry would benefit from innovations that improve the recovery of hydrocarbons. In response to the current economic downturn, operators are seeking viable ways to alleviate risk and have more certainty on the return.

Many existing monitoring methods rely on seismic, an outdated procedure that commonly takes weeks or months to view processed results. Other indicators, such as production, tracers, FMI logs and pressure gages, give operators plenty of information about the success or failure of the frac stages, but retroactively.

Production: Flaring Mitigation
Identifying effective
vapor recovery methods
Jeff Wilson, EcoVapor
How do tank recovery and vapor tower recovery systems stack up?

ffective tank vapor gas management is a critical component for achieving environmental performance goals and improving wellsite safety. The current practice of flaring tank vapors produces emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), increasing permit requirements and negatively impacting ESG performance.

This article covers three primary methods of managing tank vapors and analyzes their relative advantages with respect to achieving environmental goals, impacts on operational processes and economics.

Tank vapor management methods

Flaring at upstream oil and gas production sites has come under increased scrutiny. A report released in 2020 by the Railroad Commissioner of Texas Ryan Sitton estimated that 5% of producing wells in Texas lack access to pipelines, and the gas volumes flared in Texas in 2018 have been estimated at 650 MMcf/d.

Production: Cloud-based Systems
Production: Cloud-based Systems
Cloud-based approach to
enhancing production
operation efficiencies
Brandon Cavallaro, Aron Hallquist and Colin JB Smith, Schlumberger
As the industry seeks opportunities to extract the most value from existing assets, cloud-based systems provide an opportunity for increasing production and enhancing operational efficiency.

lobally, oil and gas executives are focused on enhancing value from existing resources. This approach applies to all aspects of the industry, including human capital, physical assets and data. This is particularly important in production operations, where resource utilization drives unit cost efficiency and project economics.

Offshore: ROV Applications
Offshore: ROV Applications
Problem solving in
the field with ROVs
Michael MacMillan, C-Innovation
Over the years, the ROV industry has seen many iterative advances in technology, changing the role and modern capabilities of remote vehicles in subsea operations.

s the subsea market changes, inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) work is more typically performed on a call-out basis. Consequently, the use of ROVs also has transformed over the years. Today, ROVs are utilized as a resource that is more valuable and complex than merely a subsea camera and instead play a key role in the efficient maintenance of subsea equipment. As a result, ROVs are now expected to remain subsea for a long duration of time and must be able to withstand the demands of the harsh environment as well as perform a number of technologically advanced tasks.

Offshore Surveys
Offshore Surveys
Enabling remotely operated
surveys with reliable
data and communications
Ryan Larsen, Oceaneering Survey Services
Remotely operated surveys reduce personnel on board, decrease HSE exposure and reduce overall project costs.

t has long been a dream for offshore energy explorers to go where many have not gone before. That means searching for oil and gas deposits in deeper waters and farther from shore than previously charted.

Many issues arise from these special projects: safety, time and cost. Keeping offshore workers safe in harsh, remote environments is of the utmost importance as operators strive to maintain the same (or better) exploration results.

Tech Trends
New drilling and completions technologies
As companies look toward market recovery, these new drilling and completions technologies will help producers boost efficiencies and streamline operations.
Drill bit with concave-shaped cutting elements reduces drilling costs
Smith Bits, a Schlumberger company, has released the StrataBlade concave diamond element bit, which is designed to improve the ROP in a wide range of rock types while withstanding impact damage often associated with drilling interbedded formations. The StrataBlade bit incorporates new geometry Strata concave diamond elements across the bit face, which increases cutting efficiency and results in higher instantaneous ROP with the same operating parameters. In deep lateral wells where weight transfer to the bit is a challenge, the StrataBlade bit drills with higher ROP when compared with traditional PDC bits with flat cutters. Improved cutting efficiency also means a better torque response at the bit for conformance to directional plans. The bit has undergone field testing in North America, specifically in the Haynesville and the Appalachian Basin. In the East Texas Travis Peak and Cotton Valley formations, the StrataBlade bit enabled an operator to eliminate two bit runs while drilling to 10,000-ft measured depth with an average ROP increase of 28% compared to direct offset wells.
Biosurfactant technology boosts initial completion oil production
Locus Bio-Energy Solutions (Locus BE) has released SUSTAIN, a newly developed green technology that is optimizing initial oil production in completions and slowing declines. The biosurfuctant is formulated using biosurfactants with multifunctional properties for hydraulic fracturing that require as little as 1/50th of the dosage rate of traditional completions surfactants, significantly lowering costs. SUSTAIN helps oil operators boost IP and sustain those higher rates for longer periods to maximize operator profitability and EUR, which all work to increase the return on investment of unconventional wells, which is a must in today’s capital-challenged operating environment.

SUSTAIN’s biosurfactants can penetrate the smallest shale rock nanopores that other treatments cannot reach, mobilizing otherwise immobile oil and enhancing recovery in unconventional tight formations where pore throats are extremely small. Locus BE’s biosurfactants are less than 2 nm in diameter, significantly smaller than any other competing technologies, which increases penetration in the reservoir during hydraulic fracturing. Unlike traditional chemical surfactants, up to 50% of SUSTAIN’s biosurfactants are adsorbed in shale reservoirs and slowly desorb over time, providing continued long-term mobilization of oil after flowback. These ultralow effective dosage rates also ensure that SUSTAIN will continue to contribute to boosting production performance for months after application.

Regional Report
Arctic exploration continues
Unfortunately, during the past year, a number of major banks announced they would not finance major Arctic development projects.
Larry Prado, Activity Editor

ccording to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Arctic could hold about 22% of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resources.

The area above the Arctic Circle encompasses about 6% of the Earth’s surface area. While the Arctic is about the size of the African continent, most of the resource area is oceanic. About 33% of the Arctic is occupied by land. Another 33% of the Arctic consists of offshore continental shelves located in less than 500 m of Arctic Ocean water. The remaining 33% of the Arctic is in Arctic Ocean waters deeper than 500 m.

Regional Report
Alaska North Slope simulation study
Research reviews the impact of rheology models on the injection profile and recovery improvement of horizontal well polymer flooding in a heavy oil reservoir on Alaska’s North Slope.
Jianqiao Leng, Mingzhen Wei and Baojun Bai, Missouri University of Science and Technology; Randall S. Seright, New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center; Yin Zhang, University of Alaska Fairbanks; David Cercone, National Energy Technology Laboratory (U.S. Department of Energy); and Samson Ning, Hilcorp Alaska LLC

he Alaska North Slope (ANS) is estimated to contain 20 Bbbl to 30 Bbbl of heavy oil. However, the development pace of that resource has been quite slow due to the high costs of development and the low oil recovery efficiency using conventional waterflood and EOR methods. Even after three decades of development efforts by multiple operators, the total heavy oil cumulative recovery from all ANS fields just reached 255 MMbbl, which was less than 1% of the total heavy oil in place in 2019.

US Highlights
US Highlights February 2021 Map

A Turner Sand completion in K-Bar Field was announced by EOG Resources Inc. The Campbell County, Wyo., producer well, #558-0820H Broadhead, was tested flowing 1,443 bbl of 43.7° API oil and 968,000 cf/d of gas. It was tested on a 128/128-inch choke with a flowing tubing pressure of 3,820 psi and a flowing casing pressure of 168 psi. The venture was drilled to 21,163 ft (10,630 ft true vertical depth). Production is from a perforated zone between 10,892 ft and 21,145 ft.

New Mexico

In New Mexico’s Lea County, Tap Rock Operating reported results from a Lea County, N.M., Bone Spring discovery in an unnamed field. Located in Section 33-24s-35e, #134h Gipple Federal Com was drilled to 22,465 ft (12,146 ft true vertical depth). It was tested flowing at a 24-hour rate of 2,127 bbl of oil and 1.897 MMcf of gas with no reported water. Gauged on a 36/64-inch choke, the flowing casing pressure was 2,300 psi. Production is from a perforated zone at 12,217 ft to 22,323 ft.

International Highlights
International Highlights February 2021 Map

Pemex has received permission to explore the onshore Tampico-Misantla Basin in southeastern Mexico in the states of Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi and Veracruz. Pemex will explore for unconventional shale-based resources. Exploration wells will be drilled and tested in mature fields. With the development of additional resources, the country’s present production could increase by about 300,000 bbl/d to about 1.9 MMbbl/d in 2021 and 2.4 MMbbl/d by 2024. According to the country’s National Hydrocarbons Commission, Mexico’s unconventional resources amount to an estimated 67.8 Bboe, of which approximately 32 Bboe are in the Tampico-Misantla Basin.


A new prospective resource report for United Oil & Gas indicates unrisked, mean prospective resources of more than 2.4 Bbbl of oil across 11 prospects and two leads in the Walton Morant license offshore Jamaica. The report noted that the gross, unrisked mean prospective resource estimate for the Colibri Prospect is 406 MMbbl, which was compiled with an updated reservoir model based on a pre-stack depth migration study from a 3D seismic dataset acquired and processed in 2018 to 2019. Eleven wells have been drilled to date (nine onshore and two offshore) with 10 having hydrocarbons show.

On The Move
Illustration of person moving up in clouds
Illustration of person moving up in clouds
Torger Rød Headshot
Norwegian oil company Vår Energi has appointed Torger Rød CEO. Rød will succeed Kristin F. Kragseth, who has recently accepted the position as CEO of Petoro, the management company for the Norwegian state-owned oil and gas interests.
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Last Word
Businessman shouting into a megaphone
Industry headwinds mandate technology collaborations
Current E&P technology needs a significant pivot in the way applications are developed and delivered.
Businessman shouting into a megaphone
Duane Dopkin, Emerson Automation Solutions

he oil and gas (O&G) industry is at a significant inflection point where the force of market headwinds, cost pressures, environmental challenges, knowledge attrition and geopolitical uncertainty have converged. Fortunately, the confluence of potentially disruptive technology has landed on the industry at the same time. Collectively branded as “digital transformation technology,” cloud computing, edge technology, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), workflow automation, and Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics are now part of every O&G company’s mindset, roadmap or even current portfolio. The timing seems perfect. So what is the problem?

Thanks for reading our February 2021 issue!