Even the Eagle Ford—which is bursting at the seams with oil— isn’t immune to the effects of the current low-price environment. Now more than ever, companies operating in the region need access to the latest intelligence coming from the field.
Next month, thousands of energy industry professionals will converge in San Antonio for two world-class industry conferences. Hart Energy— an international publisher and information provider to the energy industry— will host two co-located conferences at the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center Oct. 25-27.
The DUG Eagle Ford and MIDSTREAM Texas events will share a single exhibition floor, and full conference attendees from both events will be admitted to a single networking luncheon. DUG Eagle Ford will focus on unconventional upstream production in the Eagle Ford shale, while MIDSTREAM Texas will focus on midstream operations throughout Texas.
A conversation upstream
According to Hart Energy’s press release, over 4,000 industry professionals gather at the DUG Eagle Ford conference and exhibition each year.
“We’re talking about the concerns of the operators and producers,” said Peggy Williams, editorial director for Hart Energy. “With these events, you get to take away what industry leaders are seeing for the future on a broader stage.”
DUG Eagle Ford is expected to deliver some of the most prominent operators not only in Texas, but across the nation. Some notable speakers include senior-level executives from ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil, Chesapeake Energy, Halliburton and Pioneer Resources. A full list of presenters can be found here. Speakers will share insights on how they are increasing well productivity and lowering costs.
“We’ve been surprised at the resilience of production despite rig count declines. Operators are focused on being really efficient and drilling their best properties. There’s a real effort to get outstanding wells,” Williams stated.
Production has remained strong in Texas despite the slump. Statewide oil output is expected to reach 1.28 billion barrels this year, exceeding the state’s record of 1.26 billion barrels set in 1972, according to the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. Texas output is up 17 percent from the same time last year, even with crude prices 45 to 50 percent lower. This growth is remarkable considering Baker Hughes reports that oil and gas rigs have fallen 60 percent in Texas since last year.
A major reason the Eagle Ford has weathered the current business cycle so well is its diversity. Not only does the play contain oil, gas and condensates, it boasts robust midstream infrastructure and is located near the Gulf’s sprawling refining complexes.
“With the play being so big, there are some high quality areas that are economic even at the prices we are seeing today,” Williams stated.
But even so, it’s difficult to know where to focus efforts in order to receive the best gains. Risk is a natural part of drilling, but with oil hovering near $45, mistakes can be costly.
At DUG Eagle Ford, attendees can expect detailed discussions on break-even prices and economics throughout the play. Speakers such as Mark Paull, vice president for Goldman Sachs’ Global Natural Resources Group, will outline the macroeconomics of today’s market.
“Everyone is watching demand and foreign competitors to see what they do with their wells,” Williams stated. “The U.S. is pretty resilient. We showed the world we can produce oil much more economically than was thought a year or two ago.”
Transportation and moving crude
While DUG Eagle Ford has been held for several years, this is the inaugural year for MIDSTREAM Texas. Paul Hart, editor-in-chief of Midstream Business magazine, stated the amount of businesses involved became too much for just one conference. In essence, two events are necessary to address the wide-ranging issues facing these two sectors of the oil and gas industry.
“One thing I don’t think people realize is the business model of most midstream firms is very different than upstream firms,” Hart stated. “Most midstream firms don’t have the exposure to commodity prices that you see with exploration and production.”
MIDSTREAM Texas’ focus goes beyond the Eagle Ford to cover plays throughout the state and all the infrastructure connecting upstream production to the Gulf Coast’s vast refining complex. .
There are a number of issues impacting midstream operators, including the debate around lifting the 40-year-old crude export ban.
“There’s growing interest in crude oil exports, and if that happens, the Texas midstream operators will gain significantly from it,” Hart said. “The best infrastructure in the nation [for exports] is along the Texas Gulf Coast. With minor tweaks, those ports can be ready.”
Current political decisions, such as the easing of regulation on exporting condensates and oil export exchange programs with Mexico, are a boon to midstream operations in Texas. Energy regulators have also issued permits for a growing number of natural gas pipelines from Texas to Mexico.
Hart noted that already, some estimate 5 percent of U.S. daily natural gas production is going into Mexico and that number is likely to grow. This creates new opportunities for midstream operators.
Presentations at MIDSTREAM Texas will also cover the growth of LNG exports and what the expansion of the Panama Canal could mean for Gulf Coast ports. Notable speakers for MIDSTREAM Texas include EnLink Midstream CEO Barry Davis, the CEO of Rangeland Energy II Morris Hurt, among many more. For a full agenda and speaker list, click here.
The take away
Between the upstream conference and its new midstream counterpart, participants will leave with a better understanding of how to navigate the current business cycle and position their company for growth in the coming years.
Beyond mid- to long-term forecasts, attendees will explore the best options for accessing capital, strategies for increasing efficiency, and the latest production and transportation trends.
“This is an opportunity for observers and investors to get a feel of what’s happening now and what the future looks like,” Hart stated.
Luncheon guest speaker and additional info
In addition to the events’ many targeted networking opportunities, veterans’ family advocate Taya Kyle will deliver a special keynote luncheon address. Kyle continues the legacy of her late husband Chris Kyle, known as the American Sniper. His bestselling autobiography (and the Oscar-nominated film) immortalized his service as a Navy SEAL marksman. Kyle will share personal perspectives on the sacrifices our nation’s service members and their families make to protect our freedoms. Proceeds from the DUG Eagle Ford 2015 Golf Invitational benefit the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.
Registration information for the DUG Eagle Ford conference can be found here. Be sure to take advantage of the early bird special that runs until Oct 2.
Registration information for the MIDSTREAM Texas conference can be found here. This conference has the same early bird registration special.