News, Fracking, Oil & Gas Feed

Crude Oil Drivers Wanted: Worker Shortages Hold Back Fracking Crews

After a big downturn over the last few years, oil prices have improved slightly in recent months.  Prices are now high enough that oil companies are expanding their operations here in the U.S.  But a shortage of workers has meant companies are not getting as much oil out of the ground as they want.

You’ll see close to 200 frack crew jobs listed for North Dakota,” said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director, Lynn Helms, at a press conference last month. “The rigs are outrunning the frack crews.”

Companies are rushing to get the oil out of the ground faster than they can fill the jobs. Cindy Sanford with Job Service North Dakota said there are about as many job openings in the Bakken oilfield now as there were during the real boom times of five or so years ago. She said the big difference now is that employers are requiring a broader set of skills from workers.


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Halliburton hiring 100 per month to meet Texas fracking demand

MIDLAND -- Halliburton has hired about 100 new workers each month this year to keep up with surging demand for fracking in West Texas, a sharp turnaround after the job-killing oil bust.

The Houston oil field service company has expanded its active fleet of fracking trucks and pumps by 30 percent in recent months, and its workforce in the region has grown by more than a third to 2,700 employees, said Chris Gatjanis, who runs Halliburton's operations in the Permian Basin, in a recent interview.


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EPA wants to halt fracking rules by two years, instead of 90 days

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it is ready to halt the Obama administration's emission rules for fracking by two years, instead of the initial 90-day stay that it had announced weeks earlier.

"Under the proposal, sources would not need to comply with these requirements while the stay is in effect. Since issuing the final rule, EPA has received several petitions to reconsider certain aspects of the rule," the EPA announced Tuesday evening.


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North Dakota oil production increases 2 percent

North Dakota oil production exceeded expectations in April and natural gas production hit an all-time high as operators focus on the core area of the Bakken.

Oil production increased 2.4 percent in April to an average of 1.05 million barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources reported Tuesday.

“I think that was more than many of us expected,” Director Lynn Helms said.

Meanwhile, natural gas production jumped 6 percent to more than 1.8 billion cubic feet per day that month, setting a new record based on preliminary figures.


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After crash, North Dakota oil industry shows strong signs of a rebound

– For much of last year, Jeep Punteney was a casualty of the global oil price crash that halted North Dakota’s petroleum boom.

His career was on hold for seven months, while he picked up sporadic work in construction.

“I put my résumé out and got into the same line as everyone else,” said Punteney, 42, who went to college for chemical engineering and has spent most of the past two decades working the oil patch.

Now he’s back in the fields.


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Watch out OPEC, U.S. could break oil production record of 1970 - Jun. 1, 2017

OPEC's decision in late 2014 to pump oil at high levels launched a devastating price war. It sent oil prices to 13-year lows, dealing a big blow to the shale revolution. Dozens of American producers fell into bankruptcy and countless oil workers lost jobs.


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California Fracking Boom Set to Lift U.S. Production to New Record

California’s field oil production peaked at almost 1.2 million barrels a day in January 1986, but steadily fell by 62 percent to a post-1940 low of 443,000 barrels a day in February 2017. Many blame California’s fiscal crisis on the shriveling of oil & gas extraction taxes.

Although California has some of America’s best shale formations for hydraulic fracturing, the oil drilling technique requires 1 to 13 million gallons of water. Due to the five-year drought, California missed the initial boom, but the combination of record rainfall, record snowpack, and full reservoirs this year has positioned California to lead the next leg of the fracking boom.

American oil production hit its all-time annual peak of 9.6 million barrels per day in 1970, before falling to a 59-year low of 5 million barrels per day in 2008. But the U.S. fracking boom drove production back to its peak in June 2015, before the OPEC cartel dropped the price of oil from over $100 a barrel to under $30, according to the Energy Information Agency.


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Is U.S. Fracking Killing OPEC?

Energy: Despite cuts in oil output and threats of even more, the OPEC cartel can only watch in disappointment as prices for crude defy their efforts to raise them. Credit fracking for the cartel's loss of power over the world market.

These are desperate times for OPEC. On Thursday, oil prices plunged nearly 5% when it became apparent OPEC wouldn't cut output further, which would have put a serious dent in members' finances. Instead, the cartel will extend current cuts for nine more months.

In essence, they're declaring victory and going home.

Just three and a half years ago, the price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude peaked at $110.62 a barrel. At the time, President Obama was pushing Americans to conserve and warning, "we can't drill our way out of the problem."

Turns out, we could. Today, oil prices are struggling to rise above $50 a barrel, thanks in large part to vast new supplies of crude on the market from American frackers. They've used technology to dramatically slash costs, so OPEC can no longer control the global market price.


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Oil prices flatten out as investors ponder what’s next after OPEC meeting

Oil prices straddled the flat line on Monday, and gave up some of the gains seen ahead of the close in the U.S. on Friday, as the post-OPEC environment continues to develop.

Crude futures slumped nearly 5% on Thursday after the production-cut deal led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was extended by nine months but not deepened--disappointing some who anticipated output cuts would increase. Oil, though, finished up nearly 2% Friday thanks to the late U.S. gains.

Because of holidays Monday in China, the U.K. and the U.S., trading is set to be thin throughout Monday’s global session. That, though, could exacerbate movements one way or the other.

Read: When do markets close for Memorial Day?

In recent trading, West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery CLN7, -0.18%  on the New York Mercantile Exchange was barely changed at $49.79 a barrel in the Globex electronic session. Brent crude LCON7, -0.17%  , the global benchmark, was flat at $52.15.

Daniel Hynes, commodities analyst with ANZ Bank, anticipates oil prices rebounding into the third quarter “as the reality of production cuts hits the markets. But the upside may be limited.” He sees oil possibly making a run toward $60 next quarter.


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Oil prices drop as OPEC output cut extension disappoints the market

Oil prices fell sharply on Thursday after an OPEC delegate said the oil producer group had agreed to extend production cuts in production by nine months to March 2018.

OPEC ministers are gathered in Vienna to decide how long to extend oil production cuts in an attempt to drain a global glut that has depressed markets for almost three years.

Ahead of a closed-door meeting on Thursday, Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's energy and industry oil minister told CNBC, "Nine months with the same level of production that our member countries have been producing at is a very safe and almost certain option to do the trick."