Expert Q&A: RigUp sits down with WoodMac’s R.T. Dukes

Where do we go from here?

As we progress through a volatile 2Q, we’re sitting down with one of the most well regarded E&P analysts on Wall Street to discuss the state of the North American upstream industry.

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RigUp: M&A in the Permian Basin remains a hot topic. This quarter we’re starting to see majors or larger E&Ps like Exxon and Marathon making sizable acquisitions in West Texas. Is this a signal that the consolidation is coming to an end? What do you expect in terms of M&A in 2Q 2017, particularly as it relates to the Permian Basin?

R.T. Dukes: There will be more, but there aren’t a host of companies looking to exit like there were 18 months ago. We’ll continue to see deals, but the next wave of consolidation will happen over a longer period and will be when economies of scale begin to matter. Add up guidance from many of the top operators, and it might be sooner than we think.

RigUp: Wall Street has dramatically increased Capex estimates for the back half of 2017 and into 2018. Based on your basin by basin analysis, is North America going to exceed production expectations for the year and if so, is that bearish for the commodity markets?

R.T. Dukes: That’s dependent on your expectations! With that, we’re on track to surpass the 2015 peak in oil production near the end of 2018. I suspect that probably outpaces what most people thought would happen. Of course, that could all change to be lower or higher if prices decide to settle closer to $40 or $60.

RigUp: Are we in a world now that should be focused on the “Call on Permian” instead of the “Call on OPEC”? Or is that still wishful thinking and posturing?

R.T. Dukes: The Permian is a significant player on the global stage, but it’s not big enough to single handedly suppress prices for a long time. It will create problems in years that demand growth slips or when global supply outperforms. That will cause year to year problems, but in the long-term, it’s not the sole price setter.

RigUp: Given the strength in production growth in West Texas, there’s some scuttlebutt that we’ll run into takeaway capacity issues starting later this year. What are your thoughts?

R.T. Dukes: We definitely could, but the pipes are on the way. We don’t expect any prolonged blowout in prices due to takeaway capacity. The problems are intra-regional and on the other side of those long haul pipes. Many of the major producers plan to produce so much they need to think about who their buyers are and securing demand for their production.

RigUp: Shifting conversation about takeaway capacity to the Northeast, what are your thoughts on basis differentials in the Northeast? How big of an impact is Rover Phase 1 going to have on the market? Do E&Ps adopt an even more aggressive productive behavior thereafter?

R.T. Dukes: It’s not just Rover, but the other pipes that will add Northeast connectivity too. Add all the projects together and the region looks set to have excess capacity for a few years post 2018. As a result, producers are going to realize prices that are much better than what they’ve seen in recent history.

RigUp: For the last 6 months, the industry has been talking about “core natural gas wells” having been drilled and completed already. What’s your opinion there?

R.T. Dukes: We’ve seen high grading to the highest degree over the past couple of years with oil and gas prices seeing cyclical lows. That is changing on the oil side as operators are already stepping out, but there’s still a big inventory of core natural gas wells that have yet to be drilled. Above $3 natural gas, we’ll see more drilling outside of just the Marcellus and Haynesville.

RigUp: RigUp’s marketplace has seen the market visibly tighten for frac for 1Q this year. In some cases, based on geographical and technical requirements, there’s no spot availability until June 2017. What’s your perspective on the medium-term and long-term supply / demand for frac horsepower in North America?

R.T. Dukes: Costs are going up! The jobs are bigger, and we’re going to need more HHP than we had in 2014. Barring a price shock to the downside, we’ve probably seen the lows in completion costs and the name of the game is back to managing those costs. The industry seems to underestimate how big those swings can be, and we’ll need new horsepower sooner than most believe.

RigUp: Could you go into further detail concerning completion design strategies that E&P companies are deploying currently?

R.T. Dukes: Bigger has been better, but we’re starting to see that normalize. We’ve seen diminishing returns in certain areas as operators use more than 1,500-2,000 pounds of proppant per foot. While proppant and completion prices were low, operators had the luxury of pushing the limits. Now that costs are going up, we expect we’ll hear talk of more efficient completions utilizing the right amount of proppant, water, horsepower, etc.

RigUp: Specific to oil and gas technology, what’s the current state of the industry and their willingness to modernize? At RigUp, we’ve been blessed with a strong contingent of supportive and transformational companies that have championed our adoption. But at the same token, we’ve been told by certain operators that the internet just won’t work in oil and gas. What’s your take? Will the technology adopters win?

R.T. Dukes: I’ve seen it my entire career covering oil and gas: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We’ll always have companies like that as long as they can capture reasonable margins, but we’re not in a world where anyone expects $5 natural gas or $100 oil. The potential margin just isn’t as big as it was. A lot of people believe we’ve already cracked the code, and everything here will be small gains. The problem with not worrying about small gains today is they add up to big savings over time. Technology is as important as ever, and I suspect those companies that are avoiding tech are much more likely to be the next casualties of the shale revolution.

To learn more about Wood Mackenzie, visit woodmac.com.

To sign up for a RigUp account for free, visit rigup.com.

“Collapsing Costs: Curing Procurement” by Rob West, Redburn

In November 2016, Redburn released a report “Collapsing Costs: Curing Procurement” written by Rob West on the need for cost reduction in the oil and gas economy, emphasizing opportunities in procurement. The research discusses cost reductions available through the use of digital platforms and highlights achievements of E&P companies, including BP, that use RigUp.

We’ve summarized the article, but please download the full report at the end of this post.

 Today’s Procurement Challenges:

  • The average Major manages relationships with 100,000+ suppliers.
  • Many oil industry buyers don’t have access to their suppliers’ financial reports or HSE records.
  • The size and complexity of the industry has resulted in an uncompetitive model of excessive sub-contracting.

Curing Procurement:

Digital procurement platforms are changing the oil and gas industry. RigUp connects 17,000 U.S. contractors with 150 E&Ps and raises bids-per-award from 2.3 to 7.1. Cost savings reach 30%, middlemen are dis-intermediated, and nimble E&Ps can run 20-30x smaller procurement teams than Majors.

BP is the only Super-Major using RigUp at this time. Contractor usage is down 30% since 2012. Conversely, Shell forces suppliers to pay a $1,700 – $3,285 fee to access its own bespoke pre-qualification system—it has half the supplier numbers of peers, yet the highest headcount in procurement.

Benefits of procuring via digital platforms, such as RigUp: 

Greater Reach. More bids can be surveyed in a shorter amount of time.

blog_redburn_002Contract Cost Savings. One E&P, Three Rivers, saved 30% on an Authorization for Expenditure (AFE) for a drilling program with savings on wellhead and cementing equipment as high as 44%.

Unbundling removes unnecessary layers of oil service margins.

Time savings: In another case study, E&P Ameredev onboarded 17 contractors in less than one week, with under 24-hours screening time per contractor.

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G&A Savings. Major independents have 100-200 people dedicated to US unconventional purchasing, where smaller companies are running comparable rig crews with 4-5 people.

Benchmarking potential. Anonymized cost data is available for benchmarking from the RigUp platform.

Download the full report HERE.

And visit www.rigup.com and sign up for a free account.

Bidding & Procurement Using RigUp – 5 Ways Cabot and Silver Creek Succeed

In the last year, we have made significant improvements to our product to enhance usability for engineers, procurement professionals, and compliance managers within our online marketplace. RigUp has earned praise as “the best-in-class bidding & procurement solution for oil and gas.” While still keeping true to our core mission (helping operators and service companies connect more efficiently), we have listened intently to all user feedback, and continue to perfect and mold the platform to meet the needs of our ever growing user base.

To illuminate some of the changes that have taken place over the past year, RigUp turned to a few of our early adopters, Cabot and Silver Creek to analyze the impact. In our analysis, jobs were compared only if their work scope, location, and job requirements were identical from last year to this year.

Quote_Cabot Oil & Gast Corporation

Bidding & Procurement quote

As RigUp introduced more powerful bidding and procurement features such as bid templates, E&Ps and service companies alike have benefitted. For example, both E&P companies showed a significant increase in the number of unique service companies who submitted bids to win the work. Silver Creek had a 27% increase in submissions and Cabot saw well over double the amount of bid submissions over the span of one year. In addition, both E&Ps showed significant improvement in bid submission rates.

Bidding & Procurement Improvements

Despite WTI crude prices increasing 33%+ during the same time frame, Cabot saw costs savings ranging from 14% to 32% on RFQ’s year over year for identical job work scopes. These requests included coiled tubing unit packages, isolation tool work (well intervention), wireline pressure control equipment, coiled tubing motor and mill packages, and workover rig jobs.

Cost Savings Improvements

Silver Creek also saw cost savings of 9% on the same jobs over a similar year duration. The jobs being compared in Silver Creek’s analysis involve completion systems and well intervention by means of running new tubing on all wells with a liner hanger, liner-top packer, and toe-sleeve to test the liner prior to fracturing operations.


5 ways Silver Creek and Cabot leveraged RigUp to improve efficiency & reduce costs:

  1. Sourced more and new vendors through Open Market Bidding.
  2. Tapped into the power of RigUp Bid Templates to allow for apples to apples comparisons.
  3. Took advantage of RigUp’s permission settings and messaging functionality to make it easier for the technical owner and the purchaser to execute an RFQ much faster while maintaining security and transparency.  
  4. Utilized RFQ Reports which allowed for streamlined analysis of multiple bids – allowing Cabot and Silver Creek both to bid to more vendors.
  5. Awarding work and assigning call positions provided a clear call-out structure for their company men in the field.

To learn more about RigUp and sign up for FREE, visit rigup.com or give us a call at 512-501-5452.

Why We’re Here

When we set out to build RigUp, we wanted to build a business and a technology that would catalyze positive impact across a vital industry. We had hundreds of meetings with energy executives, field operations, petroleum engineers, and community groups about the state of the energy industry. A common theme of improving “trust” emerged; trust between the operators and service companies, trust between field operations and finance teams, and most importantly trust between communities and the companies operating in their backyards. RigUp is building technology to restore trust in the energy sector. We’re putting together a team of world-class petroleum and software engineers to solve problems that at one point in time seemed unsolvable.

To meet demand from a growing global middle class, McKinsey estimates that global energy resource productivity will have to increase at a 3.2% per annum rate going forward compared to a 1.7% per annum rate from 1990-2010. With 66% of oilfield workers set to retire in the next 10-15 years, the great men and women working in the energy industry have a large task at hand to meet the world’s energy needs. Improved productivity must come alongside stronger environmental stewardship and safety benchmarks, and modern technology is required to improve upon legacy platforms and processes.

RigUp helps producers and service companies visualize and manage assets on location. Using big data and analytics, we allow industry participants to optimize their assets for safety, efficiency, and higher environmental standards without sacrificing performance and economics. Asset level safety and tracking is key to formulating optimal development plans. Our team has a strong focus to reduce the “idiosyncratic risk” of field operations, and our platform will eliminate lapse time and disputes for service companies. We have partnered with a select group of operators and service companies as we begin testing the first version of our platform, and we look forward to bringing on additional partners in the coming months.

Recently, we closed a $3mn series seed round led by Founders Fund. We are humbled to have Founders Fund on board as our anchor investor. We’re proud to call Austin, Texas home and excited about fostering a great start-up engineering culture.

Here’s to the future, y’all.

– The RigUp Team