Demand for hydraulic fracturing services in shale plays across the United States is expected to reach rock bottom in May and stay low in the summer before a recovery begins in the fall, the Norwegian global energy research firm Rystad Energy reported.
Hydraulic fracturing crews have been deployed to a record-low 92 oil wells through May 14 and are expected to begin the process of bringing between 300 and 330 wells into production by the end of the month, the firm reported.
A modest recovery is expected to take place in the third quarter but depends on for prices West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for crude oil, improving, Rystad reported.
“Stable WTI oil prices in the low- to mid-$30s are required to see this recovery in selected core acreage positions operated by producers with strong balance sheets,“ Rystad Energy Head of Shale Research Artem Abramov said.
The Permian Basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico is expected to see the biggest decline but Rystad projects that the region will nonetheless make up one-third of the wells being completed in May.
Some 34 wells are expected to be completed in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas in May while 20 are expected to be completed in the Bakken Shale of North Dakota and another eight wells in the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma, Rystad projects.
Another 15 to 25 wells are expected to be completed in the Haynesville Shale of East Texas, the firm reported.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.