By Jeff Foster
President and Chief Executive Officer, MicroSeismic, Inc.
The current oilfield market is creating challenges for all operators and service companies. Life at MicroSeismic is no different, but MicroSeismic is fortunate to have strong investors actively supporting the company through these market conditions. Recently we made changes to our organization to manage the lower well completion activity and uncertainty of our customers’ 2016 capital spends. After a difficult reduction in workforce, our focus is to preserve the team through short-term sacrifices by the whole organization while we aggressively work new ideas that generate business.
Going forward, the market remains very challenging, but our short-term priorities remain unchanged. First, we are partnering with our customers to develop field-specific solutions that impact completion programs in today’s environment. Second, we are cross training our people and advancing technology. Third, we remain ready to service the industry and have the critical mass to deliver multiple surface or downhole projects today and can grow when activity increases. Our forward thinking attitude allows the team to be flexible as we continue to pursue operational excellence and develop world-class technology to enhance completions.
Recently, we held our 6th Annual User Forum, which was an all-day technology exchange among 40+ operators who discussed what they have learned from microseismic with their peers. It is an energizing event because it emphasizes the need to develop and share technology during these difficult times. Feedback from some of the attendees included:
- From a major E&P - “I believe microseismic is a key technology to developing unconventional wells even in today’s market because it is the only tool that measures the direct result of the stimulation.”
- From a mid-sized E&P - “Microseismic is essential to developing unconventional wells even in today’s environment because it affects plans for many subsequent wells.”
- From a small E&P - “Microseismic is a key technology because basic answers of frac height, well spacing, and stage spacing are still worthwhile in new areas.”
One of our key takeaways from the Forum is the need for both geoscientists and engineers to understand the stress distribution in the reservoir to enhance wellbore placement and completion design. As a result, one of our goals is to broaden our capabilities and value over the long-term by extending the analysis of microseismic data to extract a mapping of the stress regime as revealed by the failure mechanisms of the frac events.
When the market does turn, we propose that industry will not return to business as usual. Different business models and new technologies are required in order to emerge as a strong highly differentiated competitor. Based on our customer feedback and the eventual upturn in the market, MicroSeismic is preparing for recovery by protecting our core, remaining a resource for our customers and further developing a technology that we invented and that we wholeheartedly stand by.