Growth in the international onshore sector to boost DWS expenditure to $1.3tn over 2019-2023.
The first half of 2019 has seen continued improvements in drilling activity, driven by an oil price that has remained above $60 (Brent) a barrel since February. Large scale offshore projects, with significant drilling & well services (DWS) costs, such as Mero 2 in Brazil, North Field South Expansion offshore Qatar, and the Mozambique LNG project, have passed final investment decisions. Several E&P companies have revealed ambitious, longer-term investment plans, helping to support the DWS market throughout the five-year forecast. Overall, we expect the DWS sector to continue to experience modest improvement, with international markets beginning to see stronger growth rates in the coming years.
The Q2 2019 edition of Westwood’s World Drilling & Well Services Expenditure Market Forecast presents the latest outlook for this critical leading-indicator sector for the wider OFS industry.
Global DWS Expenditure by Region ($bn), 2014-2023
- Total expenditure over 2019-2023 to amount to $1.3tn, representing a 19% increase compared to 2014-2018.
- The US, China and Russia will represent 63% of global DWS expenditure.
- Though it will remain dominant overall, a drop in the US rig count in 2019 has caused a reduction in forecast compared to the Q1 report.
- Outside of the US, China has replaced Russia as the country with the highest level of expenditure due to the governments ambitious plans for drilling and production growth.
- Latin America is anticipated to grow strongly, driven by offshore activity in Brazil and Guyana, and continued interest in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale play.
- The full effect of the sanctions on Iran significantly reduce the forecast expenditure in the country, now anticipated to be almost a billion dollars lower by 2023 than 2019.
- At 28% of total expenditure, rig & crew represents the largest proportion of the market.
- Driven by investment in unconventional plays in the US, China and Argentina, the onshore sector will account for 79% of expenditure and grow at a CAGR of 7%.
Though there is a positive trend overall, significant oversupply remains in many service lines. This, combined with strict capital discipline from operators, has kept pricing down and a return to the highs of 2013-2014 is not anticipated at any point over the forecast period. Focus in the near-term will be the onshore market, where project lead-times to first oil are short and overall risk is more manageable.
North America will have the highest regional expenditure, representing 43% of the total. Much of this will be based in the US where drilling activity grew strongly in 2018. However, the number of active land rigs has dropped from over 1,000 at the end of 2018 to around 950 at the mid-point of 2019 as stagnant demand and bottlenecks in key plays have stalled some new activity. Growth is still expected over the forecast as new pipelines come into operation, increasing takeaway capacity. Canadian expenditure will depend almost entirely on increasing pipeline takeaway capacity, including progress associated with the recently approved Trans Mountain Pipeline.
In this quarterly edition we have substantially increased our forecast expenditure for China, following a variety of pledges of investment from China’s major NOCs. This is part of a government mandate to reduce China’s dependence on energy imports which climbed to 70% for oil and 40% for natural gas this year. To achieve this, a huge number of wells will need to be drilled, many of which will have high associated costs as they target onshore shale plays.
Latin America is expected to be a bright spot internationally, with notable growth. Offshore, the emergence of Guyana where a range of promising discoveries in the Starbroek block are under development will boost spend significantly. Between 2019-2023 we expect over 60 subsea wells to be drilled in the country. At the same time, a resurgent Brazil will see over 200 subsea wells drilled, making the region the largest for these wells which are typically high cost, particularly in Brazil’s pre-salt region. Onshore, the key growth driver will be Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale play where several supermajors, including ExxonMobil, Petronas, and Total, have targeted the play as a source of future production growth. Should anticipated investment materialise, Argentinian DWS expenditure will almost double in 2023 compared with 2018.
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