Satisfaction Bar is Set High

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

During a decade of new tools and new advances in downhole geology, has the oil and gas industry been happy with the numerous downhole services available?

Not so much, said Doug Sheridan, managing director of EnergyPoint Research Inc. in Houston.

EnergyPoint Research surveys the industry to measure satisfaction of, among other things, service companies and their offerings.

Years of Prosperity Masked Significant Declines in Customer Satisfaction. 
Graphic provided by EnergyPoint Research, Inc.
Years of Prosperity Masked Significant Declines in Customer Satisfaction. Graphic provided by EnergyPoint Research, Inc.

He’s found an inverse correlation between the prosperity of oilfield service and equipment providers, as reflected by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index (OSX), and general oilfield customer satisfaction (right).

Sheridan proposed some reasons for that disparity.

“Every time you say, ‘I have a high-tech gizmo,’ you are trying to raise the expectations of customers. Their eyebrows go up,” he noted.

“It also sets the bar higher than many high-tech applications can meet,” he said.

Also, the industry went through a period of rapidly rising demand because of high oil prices and – for a time – high natural gas prices. Service companies found themselves scrambling to add personnel.

“When you have such a high growth area, it’s difficult to have enough well-trained people to do this effectively,” Sheridan said.

Maybe because high-tech hype hasn’t always lived up to its promises, industry satisfaction has tended to be highest for bread-and-butter downhole services.

“The industry seems to be most satisfied with services that are the most specific, meaning core and fluid analysis, things you can actually take to the lab to look at,” Sheridan said.

He’s found that operators want results that lead to increased certainty, “as opposed to services that kind of approximate what’s going on downhole.”

In drilling decisions, Sheridan said, the industry is focused on the integration of downhole equipment, what he called the modeling and simulation of the entire bottomhole assembly.

“What you’re trying to do is maximize drilling (efficiency), minimize vibration and drill longer and better than you ever have before,” he explained, “because essentially you have already drilled that well on the computer.”

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