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Global Oilfield Spend Reaches $156B in 2021

Westwood Energy has released its latest Drilling & Well Services (DWS) report, with spend forecast to increase year-on-year, reaching $213bn by 2025.

This growth trajectory highlights the improved market sentiment seen so far in 2021, following a very challenging 2020, where DWS expenditure plummeted by an estimated 34% as the combined pressures of the Covid 19 pandemic and the oil price collapse hit the industry.

OPEC+ Signals Positive for Global Oilfield Spend

A combination of OPEC+ signaling a continued commitment to restricting production to help balance oil markets and promising progress with the global vaccine rollout should support higher prices and, subsequently, greater levels of drilling activity in 2021 compared to 2020. The commodity price environment remains highly sensitive, and Westwood expects activity levels to grow slowly, remaining constrained as the industry slowly recovers from one of the deepest pricing shocks on record.

2 Westwood 2Key Conclusions:

  • 2021 expenditure of $156bn forecast represents a small increase on 2020 levels driven by improved commodity prices and demand forecasts, though operators remain cautious.
  • Total expenditure over 2021-2025 is forecast to total $950bn. Year-on-year growth is expected, with spend in 2025 36% higher than 2021. However, spend is expected to remain below 2018 and 2019 levels throughout the forecast.
  • Global spend will be driven by onshore activity in three countries: the US, China, and Russia. Combined, these three account for 62% of total forecast spend, with the US leading with an estimated spend of 323bn 2021-2025 compared to $150bn for China and $118bn for Russia.
  • Latin American spend is anticipated to grow strongly, driven by continued offshore activity in Brazil and the emergence of Guyana’s oil & gas sector.
  • Rig & crew services expected to lead spend with $280bn forecast over 2021-2025, 29% of total spend. This is expected to be followed by stimulation services, with an estimated 21% of total spend, driven by US activity.

Total spend of $950bn is forecasted globally over 2021-2025, driven by onshore focused activity in three countries: the US, China, and Russia. Combined, these three markets will account for 62% of total forecast spend, with the US leading with spend of $323bn over 2021-2025 compared to $150bn for China and $118bn for Russia.


Westwood covers the following service lines in its DWS report:

US Leads Global Spend but Russia and China Show Growth

While the US will still lead spend globally, drilling activity in 2020 was severely reduced on recent years, causing spend to fall by an estimated 48% on 2019, which itself saw a decline of 10% on 2018 following operator Capex cuts as the oil price stagnated. US drilling and well services expenditure is expected to grow over the forecast, reaching $75bn by 2025, though it is not expected to return to 2018-2019 levels as operators are expected to remain cautious with drilling campaigns, while the Biden administration’s indication of tougher legislation around oil and gas adds additional uncertainty.

Conversely, both China and Russia are forecast to experience growth in forecast expenditure compared to the previous 5-year period. In China, investment into shale production to meet government mandated targets, is expected to drive demand for drilling and well services with spend reaching $32bn by 2025, 19% higher than 2021. Meanwhile, Russia will dominate spend in EE & FSU with high levels of drilling activity, to maintain market share and meet export commitments. However, compliance with OPEC+ agreements may hinder drilling growth in the near-term.

Driven predominantly by these three countries, an estimated 96% of all wells drilled are expected to be onshore. Despite this, onshore will account for only 76% of DWS expenditure over the forecast due to: much higher dayrates for rig & crew services, longer average days to drill a well and greater safety requirements for those drilled offshore in comparison to onshore.

While the US, China and Russia are expected to dominate onshore spend, Brazil and Guyana will be key countries for offshore DWS demand. Petrobras, who continue to expand deepwater activities as they divest from other assets, are expected to drill >160 subsea wells between 2021 and 2025, with high associated costs due to the depth of the pre salt wells. Guyana is also forecast to see high numbers of high-cost subsea wells drilled by ExxonMobil as they continue to develop the discoveries in the deepwater Stabroek block.

Outside of Latin America, high drilling and well services spend is expected in the Middle East from a series of high-profile projects with high grade material requirements, such as Qatar Petroleum’s North Field expansion, while continued projects in Norway and the UK will drive expenditure in Western Europe.

The World Drilling & Well Services Market Forecast offers unique insight into over 20 different service lines and is an essential product for strategic planning teams, sales executives, and supply chain investors.

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