Methane emissions from pneumatic devices, by operator, by basin

Methane leaks from 1M pneumatic devices across the US onshore oil and gas industry comprise 60% of all US upstream methane leaks and 23% of all upstream CO2. This data-file aggregates data on 563,000 pneumatic devices, from 300 acreage positions, of 200 onshore producers in 9 US basins.

The data are broken down acreage position by position, from high-bleed pneumatic devices, releasing an average of 4.2T of methane/device/year to pnuematic pumps and intermediate devices, releasing 1.5T, through to low-bleed pneumatic devices releasing 160kg/device/year.

It allows us to rank operators. 12 companies are identified, with a pressing priority to replace c135,000 medium and high bleed devices. 6 companies are identified with best-in-class use of pneumatics (chart below).

A summary of our conclusions is also written out in the second tab of the data-file.  For opportunities to resolve these leaks and replace pneumatic devices, please see our recent note on Mitigating Methane.

The Ascent of Shale

This model contains our live, basin-by-basin shale forecasts. It covers the Permian, Bakken and Eagle Ford, as a function of the rig count, drilling productivity, completion rates, well productivity and type curves. Thus, we derive production and financial expectations.

For 2020, we model the impacts of a price collapse to $30/bbl. In this scenario, c270 rigs are shed YoY in 2H20, to keep the core shale basins running within cash flow. This slows supply growth from +1.2Mbpd YoY in 2019 to +0.4Mbpd 2020 and sets the stage for a -0.5Mbpd decline in 2021.

Our longer-term numbers hinge on the productivity gains described in our thematic research. Shale productivity trebled from 2012-2018. We think it can effectively double again by 2025. This would unleash c20Mbpd of US liquids production by 2025, within cash flow at a flat $50/bbl Brent input.

Fugitive methane: what components are leaking?

This data-file looks through 35 different technical papers and data-sources to tabulate the methane leaks from different components around the oil and gas industry.

The largest leaks per event are from losses of well control, which can emit 10-1M tons per annum. Next are mid- and downstrseam facilities at 1-10kTpa.

The largest leaks by upstream component are compressor seals (1-100Tpa) and millons of pneumatic devices (0.01-10Tpa), which each comprise c20-30% of total upstream leaks.

Potentially overlooked categories include wellheads, storage tanks and workover practices. All are quantified in the data-file. The theme is addressed in detail in our note, mitigating methane.

Hydraulic Fracturing: where’s the IP?

This data-file tracks 17,000 hydraulic fracturing patents filed by geography, by company, by year, since 2010; but particularly in 2019.

Frac patents peaked in 2017-18 at c3,900 per year. 2020 has slowed by 6%. But the headline figures mask a c36% correction in the US, masked by 33% expansion of Chinese shale ambitions. Remarkably, in 2019, the leading Chinese Major filed more hydraulic fracturing patents than the leading US Service provider.

Company trends. Over the past three years, among larger companies, the top US Services filed c45% of the patents, Chinese Majors filed c40%, DM producers filed c5% and niche service copanies files c10%.

A granular breakdown for 2019 tabulates 1,900 patents, including their descriptions, which you can interrogate fully.

Chevron: SuperMajor Shale in 2020?

SuperMajors’ shale developments are assumed to differ from E&Ps’ mainly in their scale and access to capital. Access to superior technologies is rarely discussed. But new evidence is emerging. This note assesses 40 of Chevron’s shale patents from 2019, showing a vast array of data-driven technologies, to optimize every aspect of shale.

Blockchain in the Oil & Gas Supply Chain

This datafile tabulates ten examples of deploying Blockchain in the oil and gas industry from 2017 onwards; including the companies involved, the use cases, and our estimates of the cost savings.

Most prior examples have been in oil and gas trading, where cost savings tend to run at c35%. More niche applications are gaining traction in downstream, B2B applications.

For 2020, we are particularly excited by the broadening of Blockchain technologies into the procurement industry by a particular company, Data Gumbo.

c10% cost savings may be achieved for fragmented supply chains, such as US shale, by analogy to other digital procurement platforms we have evaluated in the past.

Ten Themes for Energy in 2020

Energy transition is maturing as an investment theme. ‘Obvious’ portfolio tilts are beginning to look over-crowded. Non-obvious ones are looking over-looked. This note outlines the ‘top ten’ themes that excite us most in 2020, among commodities, drivers of the energy transition, market perceptions and corporate strategies.

US CO2 and Methane Intensity by Basin

CO2 and methane intensities are tabulated for 300 distinct company positions across 9 distinct basins in this data-file. Using the  data, we can aggregate the total CO2 in (kg/boe) and methane leakage rates (as a percent of natural gas production) across the US’s different basins.

Covered basins include the Permian, Bakken, Eagle Ford, Marcellus/Utica, Alaska, GoM, Powder River, San Juan, Anadarko basin and DJ basin (chart above).

It is possible to rank the best companies in each basin, using the granular data, to identify industry leaders and laggards (chart below).

CO2 emissions from Permian shale production

This model disaggregates the CO2 emissions of producing shale oil, across 14 different contributors, aggregating across a dozen different models constructed by Thunder Said Energy: such as materials, drilling, fracturing, supply chain, lifting, processing, methane leaks and flaring.

CO2 intensity can also be flexed by changing different input assumptions, such as methane leakage, flaring activity and well productivity; while we will be happy to share underlying models with you, for further sensitivity analysis.

Our ‘idealized shale’ scenario follows in a separate tab, showing how it could be achievable to make Permian shale production a ‘carbon neutral’ resource.

Mitigating methane: what methods?

This data-file screens the methods available to monitor for methane emissions. Notes and metrics are tabulated for Method 21, Optical Gas Imaging, fixed sensors, ground labs, aircrafts, drones and satellites; including advances at the cutting edge of each method.

Emerging screening methods, such as drones and trucks are also scored, based on results from an excellent recent technical trial. The best drones can detect almost all methane leaks >90% faster than traditional methods.

Companies developing next-generation methane-mitigation technologies are screened, including 11 public  companies and 33 private companies. This peer group filed 150 patents in 2018-19. 8 companies seem particularly exciting to us.

Operators are also screened, across the dozen largest Energy Majors, to estimate their methane leaks and broader methane intensity across the supply chain.