Service providers in the oilfield sector: an overview

Oil and Gas Sector Overview: Oilfield Services


Oilfield services encompass a range of activities and procedures involved in the exploration, drilling, production and maintenance of oil and gas wells. It has been projected that the expenditure on maintenance and operations for the oilfield sector is expected to increase from USD 175 billion in 2021 to $205 billion by 2023. The domain of Oilfield Services covers products and services, including technology driven offerings that play a crucial role in ensuring successful field operations. These services involve tasks such as identifying energy sources, managing energy data, evaluating drilling techniques and formations, and studying sciences, among others. Their implementation is vital to guarantee the efficient functioning of oilfields while achieving desired outcomes.

Exploration and Drilling Services

Exploration and drilling services are of utmost importance in the oil and gas sector. These services primarily involve the identification and drilling of oil and gas wells, enabling companies to tap into valuable energy resources. The year 2021  witnessed a resurgence in the exploration drilling industry driven by the surge in commodity prices. This revival sparked renewed enthusiasm for exploration activities, leading to a 37% increase in global annual exploration budgets amounting to USD 12 billion. Here are some key aspects of exploration and drilling services:

Geological Surveys

Prior to commencing drilling operations, it is customary to conduct geological surveys in order to evaluate the possibility of oil and gas deposits within a particular region. Skilled geologists meticulously examine rock formations, seismic data and various geological markers to pinpoint sites for drilling.

Data Analysis

Exploration and drilling services involve extensive data analysis. Geophysicists and engineers analyze seismic data, well logs, and other data sources to evaluate the potential productivity of a well and make informed decisions about drilling operations.

Advanced Drilling Techniques

Extraction of oil and gas from underground reservoirs involves the use of advanced drilling techniques in exploration and drilling services. These techniques, such as drilling and hydraulic fracturing, enhance the productivity of wells and optimize the recovery of resources. As per the U.S. Energy Department, hydraulic fracturing is used in 95 percent of new wells drilled today. This method contributes to around two thirds of natural gas production and about half of the crude oil production in the United States, as reported by the EIA in 2018.

Production Services

Well Testing

Well testing is a critical step in the production process to assess the productivity and performance of oil and gas wells. It involves measuring various parameters such as flow rate, pressure, and fluid composition to determine the potential of the well.

Artificial Lift Systems

Artificial lift systems are employed to increase the productivity of oil and gas wells by reducing the pressure and facilitating the movement of fluids to the surface. Gas lift, submersible pumps and rod pumps are common methods utilized for artificial lifting. Gas lift is suitable for a spectrum of production rates ranging from 50 to 50,000 barrels of oil per day.

Well Maintenance

On average, a typical oil and gas company experiences around 27 days of downtime annually, resulting in a hefty cost of $38 million. It is crucial for these companies to prioritize the maintenance of their wells in order to ensure their optimal functioning and avoid any unplanned interruptions. Well maintenance entails inspections, necessary repairs and preemptive actions to guarantee the efficient operation and longevity of oil and gas wells. This encompasses activities like cleaning equipment replacement and resolving any mechanical or structural concerns that might arise.

Production Optimization Techniques

Production optimization techniques aim to maximize the output of oil and gas wells by improving efficiency and reducing costs. This may include implementing advanced techniques to manage advanced reservoirs, optimizing the spacing between wells and utilizing data analysis to pinpoint areas for enhancement.

Well Intervention Services

Well Logging

Well logging is a technique used to obtain detailed information about the subsurface formations and conditions of an oil or gas well. It involves the use of various tools and sensors to measure parameters such as porosity, permeability, and fluid content.

Well Stimulation

Well stimulation techniques are used to enhance the productivity of oil and gas wells. This may involve hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, or other methods to improve the flow of hydrocarbons from the reservoir to the wellbore.

Wellhead Maintenance

Maintaining the wellhead of an oil or gas well requires regular inspections, maintenance and repairs. This encompasses equipment and components such as the wellhead itself casing, tubing, valves and other crucial elements that ensure the safe and efficient functioning of the well.

Other Techniques

Apart from activities such as well logging, well stimulation and wellhead maintenance, there exist several other methods and services that can be employed to improve the efficiency and longevity of oil and gas wells. These may include wellbore cleanout, sand control, artificial lift, and more.

Completion and Workover Services

Casing and Cementing

Casing and cementing play a crucial role in the completion and workover procedures. During casing steel pipes are inserted into the wellbore to provide support and prevent any collapse. Cementing, on the other hand, involves filling the space between the casing and wellbore with cement to ensure proper isolation of different zones and prevent any movement of fluids.

Wellbore Cleanout

Cleaning out the wellbore is a step in enhancing the flow of oil and gas. It entails getting rid of any debris, scale, or other blockages that might hinder production. This process often involves utilizing tools like scrapers, brushes, and high pressure jets to thoroughly clean the wellbore and optimize productivity.

Well Testing

Well testing is performed to evaluate the productivity and performance of a well. During these tests, we measure factors like flow rate, pressure and the composition of the fluids being produced. The results from well testing provide valuable insights into the potential of a well and enable us to optimize our production strategies accordingly.

Other Activities

In addition to casing and cementing, wellbore cleanout, and well testing, completion and workover services may involve various other activities. These can include perforation, stimulation, artificial lift installation, and equipment maintenance. These activities are essential for maintaining the proper functioning of oil and gas wells and maximizing production.

Oilfield Equipment Rental Services

Oilfield equipment rental services offer a convenient and cost-effective solution for accessing specialized equipment and tools required for oil and gas operations. These services provide a wide range of rental options, including:

Drilling Rigs

Oilfield equipment rental services provide a wide range of drilling rigs available for rent. These rigs play a vital role in drilling wells and extracting oil and gas from beneath the surface. By the end of  2022, there were 1,500 oil rigs in operation, while the number of offshore rigs stood at 230.

Well Control Equipment

Well control equipment, such as blowout preventers and control systems, is crucial for maintaining safety and preventing well control incidents. Rental services are available to provide access to this kind of equipment, ensuring that oilfield operations run smoothly. According to the analysis, it is discovered that the Automated Well Control system has significantly reduced the chances of failures caused by error by 95%.

Production Equipment

Companies utilize production equipment, including separators, pumps and tanks, to handle the processing and storage of oil and gas once they are extracted. These companies manufacture an array of equipment for the processing of oil and gas condensate as well as process equipment for oil refineries. They produce up to 700 types of equipment annually. Additionally, rental services are available to provide a range of production equipment that assists in facilitating efficient production operations.

Other Tools and Equipment

In addition to drilling rigs, well control equipment, and production equipment, oilfield equipment rental services also provide access to a wide range of other tools and equipment necessary for oilfield activities. These may include specialized tools for well maintenance, testing equipment, and safety gear.

Environmental and Waste Management Services

Waste Disposal

The oil and gas industry places importance on the ethical management, processing and removal of different forms of waste produced during drilling, production and maintenance activities. These include waste, hazardous waste and wastewater. 0.2 percent (equivalent to 1.9 million barrels or 2.0 million tons) of all oil and gas wastes are categorized as associated wastes.

Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring services help oil and gas companies assess and manage the environmental impact of their operations. This includes monitoring air quality, water quality, soil contamination, and noise levels. Regular monitoring helps identify any potential risks or non-compliance with environmental regulations.

Compliance with Environmental Regulations

Oilfield service providers ensure that oil and gas operations have minimal impact on the environment by complying with environmental regulations. This involves adhering to emission standards, properly managing waste and implementing sustainable practices. Complying with these regulations is vital for promoting responsible oilfield operations. To illustrate there is a rule that builds upon the 2012 U.S. EPA regulation aimed at reducing volatile organic compounds  (VOCs) emitted from new upstream oil and natural gas infrastructure. This updated rule now focuses on reducing methane emissions in addition to VOCs. It requires a 95% reduction in all emissions, including methane from wet seal centrifugal compressors. Owners/operators are now obligated to capture any emissions and direct them toward proper processing or flaring methods.

Safety and Risk Management Services

Safety Training

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 45 fatalities among employees working in the oil and gas extraction industry in 2020. Ensuring a working environment in oilfield operations requires prioritizing safety training. This entails equipping employees with the expertise and abilities to recognize and address potential risks, as well as instructing them on the proper protocols for handling equipment and materials.

Risk Assessment

In the oil and gas industry, Quantitative (QRA) is commonly employed to ensure safety throughout the phases of design, construction and operation. Risk assessment involves examining and evaluating potential hazards and dangers associated with oilfield operations. This includes conducting inspections and analyses of equipment, procedures and work environments to identify any possible sources of harm. By identifying and evaluating risks, appropriate actions can be taken to minimize or eliminate them altogether.

Emergency Response Planning

Creating an emergency response plan is crucial for addressing and handling emergencies in oilfield operations. It involves establishing communication channels and evacuation protocols and providing necessary training on emergency procedures. By having a designed plan, companies can minimize potential risks and ensure the safety of all workers involved.

Implementation of Safety Protocols

The implementation of safety protocols is crucial for maintaining a safe working environment in oilfield operations. This involves the establishment and enforcement of safety rules and regulations, conducting inspections and audits as well as providing continuous training and education to employees. By adhering to these safety protocols, the likelihood of accidents and injuries can be greatly minimized.

Market Overview

The oilfield services sector plays a vital role in the oil and gas industry, providing essential support and expertise for exploration and production activities. According to an analysis by Research Nester, the global oilfield services market is projected to surpass a value of USD 264.86 Billion by the end of 2035, exhibiting a compound growth rate (CAGR) of 6.35% during the forecast period from 2023 to 2035. In 2022, the market size for oilfield services exceeded USD 126.52 Billion.

One of the factors driving the growth of the oilfield services market is the increasing demand for oil and gas production, particularly in emerging markets like China and India. As these countries continue to develop their economies, their energy consumption is expected to rise, leading to a surge in demand for oil and gas production. It is estimated that global oil demand is set to increase by 2.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) to reach 102.2 mb/d in 2023, with China accounting for more than 70% of this growth. Additionally, global gas demand is projected to grow at a rate of 1.6% per year between 2022 and 2026.

New Product Launches

Recent product launches in the oilfield services industry include:

  • Schlumberger’s Digital Rock Analysis (DRA) software uses machine learning to analyze rock properties and improve drilling efficiency.
  • Halliburton’s Digital Drilling Solutions uses IoT sensors and analytics to monitor drilling operations and improve safety and efficiency.
  • Weatherford’s Digital Wellbore uses AI and machine learning to analyze wellbore data and improve drilling performance.

What’s next? Trends and challenges

The oilfield services industry is constantly evolving, driven by emerging trends and challenges. This section explores the future trends and challenges that the industry is currently facing.


The oilfield services industry is undergoing a transformation with the advent of digitalization. This technology allows companies to gather and analyze volumes of data, leading to optimized operations, improved efficiency and cost reduction. Advanced tools like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics are being employed to monitor equipment performance and predict maintenance requirements. Enhance safety measures. A significant majority— 82%—of oil and gas companies are allocating a considerable portion of their overall budget to invest in digital technologies.


Automation is a trend in the oilfield services industry. It is projected that by 2030, the market value of automation and control systems used in the oil and gas sector will reach 38 billion USD. The adoption of robotics, drones and autonomous vehicles is on the rise, enabling the monitoring, inspection and maintenance of oilfield assets. Automation not only enhances operational efficiency but also improves safety by minimizing human involvement in hazardous environments.

Transition to Renewable Energy Sources

The move towards using renewable energy sources presents a major hurdle for the oilfield services sector. With the decreasing demand for fossil fuels, companies in this industry must adjust their strategies. Broaden their range of services to include renewable energy solutions. This could entail investing in energy projects, innovating new technologies and providing training for their employees to meet the evolving needs of the energy market.

A look forward to the future

The oilfield services sector is expected to have a positive future ahead. This is due to the support from the government and increasing investments. The government has implemented initiatives and policies to foster growth in the oil and gas industry, which have played a crucial role in driving investment and promoting innovation. For example, Nigeria introduced the National Oil and Gas Policy (NOGP) in 2019 with the goals of boosting production, reducing reliance on imports and generating employment opportunities within the sector. Additionally, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was passed in 1998 to regulate Nigeria’s oil and gas industry by establishing a framework for exploration, production and distribution of petroleum resources. These initiatives encompass tax incentives, subsidies, well as regulatory reforms that create a favorable business environment for companies operating in the oilfield services industry.

Furthermore, government investments in infrastructure development and technological advancements have also contributed significantly to enhancing prospects within this sector. Notably, China’s three state owned energy giants plan to invest at 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) or more in renewable energy by 2025. These investments aim to enhance the efficiency, and productivity of oilfield operations while simultaneously reducing costs and ensuring environmental sustainability. For instance, the government has been putting resources into the exploration and advancement of cutting edge drilling techniques, automation and digital innovations that allow for real time monitoring and optimization of oilfield operations.

However, the oilfield services sector also faces challenges that could impact its future growth. Price volatility in the oil and gas market can affect the demand for oilfield services, as companies may reduce their exploration and production activities during periods of low oil prices. The sector also faces challenges due to concerns and the shift towards cleaner and renewable energy sources. There is mounting pressure to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and limit the effects caused by oilfield operations.


To sum up the Oilfield Services article underscored the significance of innovation and technology in the industry. The advent of digitalization and automation has revolutionized the delivery of oilfield services, making them more effective and economical. Furthermore, the article stressed the importance of sustainability and environmental stewardship within the sector along with highlighting the value of collaboration and partnerships among companies and stakeholders.

3 Ways Technology is Going to Shape the Oil and Gas Industry Free to Download Today

Oil and gas operations are commonly found in remote locations far from company headquarters. Now, it's possible to monitor pump operations, collate and analyze seismic data, and track employees around the world from almost anywhere. Whether employees are in the office or in the field, the internet and related applications enable a greater multidirectional flow of information – and control – than ever before.

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