U.S. Drilling Fluids Demand to Grow


U.S. demand for drilling fluids is expected to increase 5.2 percent per year to $6.8 billion in 2019, driven by growth in the number and depth of wells drilled and by increasing market penetration for premium products, Freedonia Group found.

High-performance water-based drilling fluids will continue to increase their share of the market in unconventional drilling where oil-based fluids have been traditionally chosen, Freedonia stated in a news release.

By comparison, the value of U.S. drilling fluids demand grew at an average annual rate of 17.9 percent the previous five years, from $2.3 billion in 2009 to $5.3 billion in 2014.

U.S. demand for all oil and gas drilling products and services is forecast to increase 3 percent per year to $70.6 billion in 2019. Drilling fluids accounted for 9.6 percent of that demand.

According to Freedonia, the low oil price environment that began in late 2014 will lead to sharp declines in drilling products and services demand in 2015. But oil prices are expected to rise again, allowing drilling activity to recover and demand for drilling products and services to surpass 2014 levels within the next few years. The company expects increases in spending on drilling products and services will be further supported by wider adoption of higher-value products and services, especially those used in horizontal drilling.

Greater growth will be limited by efficiency gains that will allow wells to be drilled more quickly, restraining growth in spending on contract drilling and other services tied to the number of days needed to drill a well, Freedonia analyst Jason Carnovale said.

Freedonia expects oil prices to recover in the coming years and points to that as the primary force supporting overall gains in drilling activity through 2019. Higher domestic natural gas prices and an emerging liquid natural gas export industry are expected to support drilling for natural gas. Growth in both drilling activity and demand for drilling products and services will be broad-based across U.S. states and regions, Freedonia forecasted.

The 277-page study, Drilling Products and Services, costs $5,300 from Cleveland-based Freedonia Group. For more information, visit www.freedoniagroup.com.

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