Energy industry stakeholders from across the globe are preparing to descend on New York City for New York Energy Week – the innovative event series launched by Energy Solutions Forum – and the mix of diverse participants brings a breath of fresh air to the energy conference format. Participants include representatives from the environmental community, regulators, policymakers, educational institutions and corporations large and small.
One of the corporate participants – and Terawatt-level sponsors – is small cap oil & gas exploration and production company Breitling Energy, who’s CEO recently sat down with Breaking Energy to discuss their operations and New York Energy Week involvement.
Breitling was founded in 2004 as a technology provider to the upstream oil and gas space. The company has a patented 3D seismic technology platform called Geo 3D that it decided to begin using for itself. Breitling merged with Bering Exploration last year, another small-cap E&P with assets in Texas and Louisiana.
Breitling now operates wells in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Kansas and has non-operated interests in North Dakota’s portion of the Bakken Shale deposit.
“We are plowing most of our capex [capital expenditure] into the Permian Basin where we have assets bought from Clayton Williams in the Spraberry/Wolfcamp [shale play],” Breitling’s CEO Chris Faulkner told Breaking Energy. “We are moving forward drilling a second well,” he said, and they have 49 locations left to drill.
The company faces challenging geology in Sumner County Kansas where they just drilled a Mississippi Lime well. “That will be where the remainder of our capex is deployed over the next 18 months,” said Faulkner. The geology is less homogeneous than in some of the other major shale plays he explained.
For example, the Permian Basis – which is seeing lots of drilling activity – has what the industry refers to as “stacked plays” where several oil- and gas-bearing shale deposits are layered on top of one another. When wells are properly drilled and completed, “you can get up to 500 feet of net pay,” Faulkner said.
But shale development is not for the faint of heart – or those with weak balance sheets – said Faulkner when discussing some of the company’s early challenges. “As a small independent, we had small drilling budgets and were competing with larger independents that had fracking crews locked up for years in advance. “There were lots of starts and stops with drilling wells and waiting for capital,” he said.
“Smaller independents had to take a back seat.”
New York Energy Week Excitement
Breitling is excited to be involved in New York Energy Week – Faulkner is speaking at the Natural Gas Markets Breakfast and NYEW Closing Ceremony – because the events will attract a diverse international audience. “It’s a great platform that brings thought leaders, experts and folks from all over world here in one place,” he said.
“We wanted a global audience and think New York Energy Week does that.”
Faulkner is also releasing a book that week called “The Fracking Truth” and Breitling produced a documentary called “Breaking Free, the Shale Rock Revolution” that will also be premiered and screened on June 18th.
Faulkner is one of the only executives from an independent oil & gas company who travels internationally to speak about unconventional resource development. Specifically, he addresses what this kind of oil and gas activity might be like in foreign countries and how stakeholders can navigate some of the challenges.
It has been widely discussed, but Faulkner’s experience has shown that land ownership issues in other countries can be a significant challenge. The US is the only country where property owners also hold title to resources located beneath their land, while in other nations the government controls subsurface rights.
“Mineral rights and ownership issues are proving challenging in the UK,” Faulkner said. He has spoken there several times. “Incentivizing land owners is difficult.” For everything made about hydraulic fracturing technology, established infrastructure, rig availability and favorable commodity prices, he said, land ownership laws that incentivize people to allow drilling on their property in exchange for royalties and other forms of financial remuneration really helped the US oil and gas production renaissance take off.
“Greed started the boom in the US.”