There are a number of far-reaching benefits to growth in U.S. natural gas production, as cited by panelists David Pursell, Managing Director of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.; Thomas Bates, board member of several oil and gas companies and adjunct profession of energy macroeconomics at Texas Christian University; and Paul DeWeese, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Oilfield Products.
described a renaissance in technology to sustain the needs of the oil and gas industry and said that companies that don't keep up with the technology curve will struggle.
"There is a real shift in drilling technology because there are fewer rigs, drilling more feet and discovering more oil and gas," said DeWeese
"Drilling contractors are doing a great job with advances in pad drilling, walking rigs and the ability to drill faster and be more efficient."
cited some positive trends in offshore drilling activity, he
is cautious about whether it will continue because the economics of oil and gas shale are more favorable.
From a manufacturer's perspective, DeWeese
added that competition from U.S.-based companies manufacturing products in China puts pressure on his
company, and others, to stay competitive.
"Just six years ago it was more cumbersome to get Chinese-made products on rigs or well-service equipment into Louisiana or Texas.
That has changed and there is greater acceptance of those products from China and other low-cost countries like India and Romania at a time when U.S. overhead costs are increasing for materials, labor, healthcare and more," said DeWeese
said positive market trends include strong activity for North American drilling contractors, and increased activity in the Middle East and Asia that will continue in the near term.
"The offshore market is strong right now and we expect that will decrease over time," said DeWeese
Additional trends to watch, according to DeWeese
, include the oversupply situation for U.S. fracturing which is resulting in increased pricing pressure and the changes in Mexico with energy reform that will allow investors from outside the country to partner with PEMEX.
said U.S. manufacturers could be negatively impacted by the struggles in Venezuela, Argentina, North Africa and Russia.
The biggest challenge for industry is a lot closer to home, said DeWeese
reinforced earlier themes about the need for talent in the industry.