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Halliburton: Moving Quickly on the Global Shale Boom

Source: Halliburton
Source: Halliburton

The world's largest oil-field services company is preparing for the boom in shale gas and oil development to spread beyond North America in the coming years, likely heating up in 2013.

Poland is already moving quickly to exploit gas reserves using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies. Many more promising basins have been located in Latin America and the Eastern Hemisphere, and drillers and well completion companies will probably see a major growth in international business related to shale extraction from 2013 and into 2014, a Halliburton executive told industry peers at an analyst event.

"Things are moving quickly, probably a little more quickly than we originally anticipated," said Tim Probert, president of Halliburton's strategy and corporate development division. The evolving situation beyond the United States and Canada, he said, promises a "robust outlook for the oil service industry."

In the past year, Halliburton has discovered "a fairly sizable population" of shale basins and other unconventional oil and gas reserves that could be tapped using new and improving technologies, Probert said at a two-day event sponsored by the investment firm Jefferies.

Halliburton technology teams have been dispatched to do assessments in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Europe. The results they are reporting are raising eyebrows with regard to the potential for international business growth.

A total of 150 separate basins have been analyzed so far, Probert noted, and 60 have been assessed in detail. And although market and regulatory conditions will make many of those basins infeasible or impractical for oil and gas development, many more will eventually to opened up to exploration and exploitation, Halliburton predicts.

A more international operating environment will also probably force the industry to adapt new technologies and techniques for hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," that cause less concern among environmentalists and regulators, Probert added.

Halliburton is working on techniques that employ "clean" fracking fluids that use chemicals commonly found in the food-processing industry, he said. The company is investing millions of dollars in research in the hopes of creating the "frack of the future," more environmentally friendly and less controversial fracking techniques, Probert said.

Halliburton also sees growing interest in the Middle East and other major historic oil patches to employ other enhanced extraction technologies aside from fracturing, to arrest future declining output from mature oil fields.

The company maintains that Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] producers, in particular, are not investing enough in existing fields. That trend, the company said, will reverse as pressure builds in those nations to keep government revenues from oil and gas production flowing.

The company also sees business in the offshore sector perking up in the coming years. Many new rigs are seen coming online beyond the Gulf of Mexico. East Africa is an especially promising market, Probert said, adding that his company is moving to build the infrastructure in that region that will be necessary to support a robust offshore oil and gas industry there.

"We are more enthusiastic today than we were two quarters ago," Probert said.

Source: E&E News.  E&E News is published by Environment & Energy Publishing.  For more news on energy and the environment, visit  http://www.eenews.net/

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