EOG still top U.S. drilling client, but Exxon-Pioneer coming up

byJoseph Gyure, Editor, Enverus Intelligence

EOG Resources is arguably the largest customer in the U.S. onshore oilfield services industry, leading all E&P companies in feet drilled, average rig count and wells completed, and finishing second in frac fluid pumped during Q2, according to an analysis using Enverus Core data presented in the most recent issue of Oilfield Pulse. EOG held those same spots in Q1. However, one of October’s two $60 billion acquisition agreements could propel a supermajor to the top.

Houston-based EOG drilled 3.85 million ft and 204 wells in Q2, roughly 540,000 ft more and eight more wells than in Q1. With assets across the Permian, Rockies, Appalachia and Eagle Ford, the company also has a “large bench of low-breakeven inventory [that] exceeds most large-cap peers,” Enverus Intelligence® | Research said in an Operator Profile last June.

Occidental Petroleum was in second place by feet drilled with 2.81 million. While Oxy drilled 470,000 ft more in Q2 than it Q1, it remains just over 1 million ft behind EOG’s totals.

EOG probably has a few more months at the top until ExxonMobil Corp. closes its $64.5 billion purchase of Pioneer Natural Resources in 1H24. The largest corporate acquisition in the U.S. upstream oil and gas since Exxon bought Mobil in 1998, the deal unites Q2’s sixth- and fourth-largest U.S. land drilling customers, with a combined Q2 total of 4.43 million ft. Pioneer also pumped the most fracking fluid in Q2, and ExxonMobil trailed only Pioneer and EOG. The Pioneer-ExxonMobil combined total of 131.9 MMbbl of frac fluid in Q2 is 86% higher than EOG’s total.

The other recently announced megadeal, Chevron Corp.’s $60 billion acquisition of Hess Corp., would have had less of an impact on the rankings. While Chevron was the third-most active driller by footage in Q2, Hess was in 16th place. Pioneer is focused on the Midland Basin, whereas Hess divides its capex among the Bakken, the Gulf of Mexico and a non-operated stake in Exxon’s Guyana assets. In pressure pumping demand, Chevron was fifth in barrels of fluid pumped while Hess was 42nd.

EOG’s drilling rigs are primarily operated by the three most active drilling contactors in the U.S.: Helmerich & Payne, Patterson-UTI and Nabors Industries. Those three—as well as the rest of the top six drilling contractors—retained their Q1 positions in the Q2 rankings. H&P remained on top by a wide margin as its total drilled footage declined by just 1% in Q2 even as its average rig count slid to 164 compared with Q1’s 182. Patterson-UTI remained in second even though it was the only contractor in the top 10 to see its active rig count and footage rise from Q1, by two rigs and 125,000 ft.

Halliburton remains the most active fracking contractor by barrels of fluid pumped, proppant pumped and well count, followed by Liberty Oilfield Services, ProFrac Services and NexTier Oilfield Services. The top three pressure pumpers posted increases from Q1 in all three categories, with Halliburton using 11% more barrels and 8% more proppant and working 13% more wells. Fracking activity tends to lag drilling activity, so the pressure pumpers are likely to reflect Q2’s declining rig count when Q3 data is compiled. ProPetro remained in fifth place in barrels and proppant pumped, but its activity slid in Q2 by 34 MMbbl and 1.6 MMlb.

To see the full drilling and fracking leaderboards for both contractors and their clients, check out the latest issue of Oilfield Pulse.

About Enverus Intelligence Publications
Enverus Intelligence Publications presents the news as it happens with impactful, concise articles, cutting through the clutter to deliver timely perspectives and insights on various topics from writers who provide deep context to the energy sector.

Joseph Gyure, Editor, Enverus Intelligence

Joseph Gyure, Editor, Enverus Intelligence

Joseph Gyure has covered midstream and oilfield services since 2017 and joined Enverus from PLS. He previously worked at ICIS, the Houston Chronicle, and the Waco Tribune-Herald. Joseph is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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