Oil Prices and More: Mobile Apps for the Oil & Gas Industry

oil pricesOil Prices and More: Mobile Apps for the Oil & Gas Industry

Today’s oil and gas industry is a dynamic and rapidly changing environment and oilfield professionals constantly require accurate and up-to-the-minute information to perform their jobs. Luckily, there is a wide range of mobile apps, which support these professionals, including the following 10.


Rigzone provides oilfield personnel with up to date news on developments in the industry. Furthermore, it allows job seekers to search and apply for thousands of jobs in the oilfield directly through the app. The app works with pre-existing Rigzone accounts.


Pipeline Regulations

The Pipeline Regulations app supports professionals such as oilfield engineers in their work by providing selected parts of the Code of Federal Regulations for pipeline construction and natural gas facilities.

The app includes information on minimum safety standards, pipeline safety programs and incident reports. Offline access is available for those working at remote jobsites.

Oil Price

The price of oil and natural gas can change rapidly and have a profound effect on oilfield companies. The Oil Price app displays current oil prices as well as price trends.

The app is based on three major oil and gas trading benchmarks; natural gas, Brent Crude Oil and West Texas Intermediate.

Oil and Gas News

Oilfield professionals must know what is happening beyond their jobsite in order to operate most efficiently. Oil and Gas News provides users with instant access to local and national oilfield news. The app includes a constantly updated news feed that sorts news into specific topics. Users can also share stories with each other directly through the app.

Baker Hughes Rig Count

The Rig Count app displays an interactive map of active oil rigs and their locations in the United States. The map is updated weekly in conjunction with the release of the Baker Hughes Rig Count, which serves as a major indicator for oilfield businesses as to where there is a demand for their supplies and for oil and gas production.


Safety is a primary concern for all oilfield companies. Users of the Observations app can quickly and easily record safety observations in the field including detailed accounts of chemical, biological, physical and psychological hazards. These observations are then uploaded into an online database, where they are accessible to other users.

Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary

This app serves as a dictionary of all oilfield terms and includes more than 4,600 definitions, all of which have been reviewed by technical experts. High quality, color photographs or diagrams accompany many of the definitions. This app is accessible to both amateurs and professionals.

WellEz Mobile

The WellEz Mobile app allows users to view the status of their active oil wells and allows them to monitor them for performance, drilling activity and non-productive periods. Users can also compare their wells’ actual performance to their original production plan as well as compare their current project costs to their estimated costs.

eRedbook Mobile

Halliburton’s “Redbook” cementing tables have served as the oilfield standard for referencing calculations for cementing and completing oil wells for the past 80 years. eRedbook Mobile gives oilfield professionals instant access to information on commonly used materials such as casing and tubing. The app can also be customized for instant access to information on a user’s most commonly used materials. 

Will Low Oil Prices Affect Metal Fabricators?

Low Oil Prices Affect Metal FabricatorsWill Low Oil Prices Affect Metal Fabricators?

The Possible Effects of Low Oil Prices on Metal Fabricators

The drop in oil prices hasn’t yet touched metal fabricators, but over the long term, we know that lower prices for oil and gas will lessen production, which could affect the fabrication industry. How this will look is hard to say, but it is clear that a heavy dependence on the oil and gas sector could slow down demand for some businesses.

A Bright Future

It may seem counter-intuitive, but dropping oil prices could end up being good for manufacturers and fabricators. For one thing, the Canadian dollar is heavily tied to oil prices, and as it drops, state-of-the-art manufacturing could be in greater demand.

Another opportunity for metal fabrication is in ongoing projects, which continue to require replacement parts and ongoing development. A slower market for new projects will not necessarily mean less work, but reinvestment in older parts to get more ‘bang for the buck’ in the oil industry.

Furthermore, there could possibly be an increase in steel imports over time, taking advantage of cheaper prices for transport and materials. It’s worth noting that just as the strengthening Canadian dollar led to layoffs in the manufacturing sector in 2004, the reverse could happen today as the dollar drops.

The Unknown

As layoffs occur in the oil field, manufacturers are bracing for a downturn in the fabrication sector as well. But fabrication works on a different time scale than the oil field, and changes are slower to reach the sector. Because of the time needed to produce metal pieces for the oil field, companies are working on projects now for deliverables that are months down the line. Predicting production needs over the longer term is difficult, but ongoing projects still need to be produced.

Prices for hot rolled coil are down, as is demand for sheet steel and bars for seamless pipe. Steel is faring better than other metals, like copper and aluminum, which have seen great changes in commodity prices since the oil bubble burst. Over the long term, the down turn could be damaging, especially for fabricators whose most significant markets are in Western Canada, Texas, or North Dakota.


Some US oil and gas producers believe steel demand from the oil sector could be down by as much as 50% in the next year, and that spells trouble for businesses that haven’t diversified.

Like the Canadian dollar, being tied to just one market could prove damaging for some businesses. For metal fabricators who have the ability to diversify their markets and interests, now is the time to explore a greater variety of business partners, thus mitigating the negative impact of low oil prices. One recommendation is to pursue or further existing relationships with automakers, as they make the most value-added steel.

Overall, the industry outlook is positive. While this could be a challenging time for some metal fabricators, it isn’t likely to cause serious harm to the industry as a whole.

The New Wave of Energy Crowdfunding

energy crowdfundingThe New Wave of Energy Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding projects seem to know no bounds. With platforms like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and RocketHub springing up all over the Internet, the power of the group has taken many movies, games, toys, and even bioluminescent plants into solid reality.

Now, oil and gas startups are getting into the mix, with hopes of shaking up “the big six”.

For new entrepreneurs lacking deep pockets, crowd funding offers the opportunity to compete with existing oil and gas companies. Plus, since they’re starting from scratch, there’s nothing to stop them from exploring alternative energy sources and making them financially viable.

The market is there, and is already powerful. Crowdfunders raised $2.7 billion worldwide in 2012 for more than a million individual projects.

Governments are also eager for the success of crowd funding. The United Kingdom government, for example, has hopes of attracting 75 billion pounds in low-carbon fuel sources by 2020. Crowdfunders could cover up to 50% of that goal.

In Germany, citizen-owned renewables, in particular wind farms, already make up a significant market share. With 25% of their energy coming from renewables and nearly half of those sources owned by the public, German citizens invested 137 billion in renewables over the last 8 years.

Stateside, the country’s largest solar power provider predicts heavy crowd funding involvement in rooftop solar panelling, with a projected $5 billion investment in the next five years.

Oil and gas companies have good reason to get into the mix as well. New companies can diversify their interests more easily using crowd funding, and by bringing the public into investing, companies add a new level of transparency to their business. Trust built by transparency would benefit reputable operators and their businesses.

New companies aren’t the only potential beneficiaries either as big oil and gas companies could modify existing contracts to accommodate crowd funding. Either way, investors win. By providing a low-cost buy in with potentially high returns, new drilling efforts offer investors the chance to diversity and protect themselves from losses, just as any oil and gas company might.

Small Players, Big Goals

The new crowdfunding energy market has several small players, all hoping to shake up energy as we know it. Here are a few of the start-ups trying their hands at crowd funding:

  • EnergyFunders.com – EnergyFunders is a site devoted to raising money exclusively for energy projects. They allow investors to browse through projects, and offer a documented investment process.
  • Symbid – Symbid is a Dutch firm that offers crowdfunding for junior mining companies and oil and gas exploration companies where the traditional investment banks won’t go. They are offering direct equity funding which is normally not allowed for smaller investors within North America.
  • EAFunds – Energy Access Funds is a startup firm that has created an online marketplace for the oil and gas industry in the US and Canada. As investments into the energy sectors are mostly limited to pension funds or even endowments, EAFunds allows individuals to be able to invest in oil and gas industry opportunities.
  • Crudefunders.com – Crudefunders was created to allow any size investors to invest in new explorations and drillings. They are more active in only including opportunities that meet their minimum criteria for investment.

Off Take Financing in Mining

off take financing in miningFinancially Helpful Off-Take Agreements

Off Take Financing in Mining

Mining companies in the global market face challenges such as unpredictable pricing, human resource and technological issues. However, one of the main challenges is finding suitable financing sources for the extraction and processing of mineral resources. Royalty deals, off-take agreements, strategic partnerships and earn-ins are becoming increasingly important for miners of all stages.

Given the lack of cash flow without a securable asset, the most promising methods of financing exploration happen only through providing equity. Since miners require the support of investors who can also buy the resource from them, it then becomes easier to raise financing. It is in this situation that the off-take agreement has become a popular form of financing.

Definition and features:

An off-take agreement is signed between a producer of a resource and a buyer. This happens before the construction of a facility, which can guarantee a market for the future production of a mineral resource. It ensures a market for the miners, especially for a mine prior to its establishment.

The term “off-take agreement” covers a wide variety of contracts for the sale of mineral production from a mine:

  • Sale agreements to metals traders, smelters and other end users
  • Commodity forward and hedging agreements
  • Tolling agreements with refiners
  • Take or pay contracts with project sponsors, end users and other parties

The off-take agreements are commonly used in bulk commodities such as coal, iron and limestone. The price and volume make up the bulk of the revenue. It gives the project company stable and secured revenue to pay its project debt obligation, its operation and process costs, and deliver its certain required return to the investors. Miners are provided with pre-production advances of cash in return for future compensation in the form of equity stakes, loans and convertible bonds, exclusive rights to purchase production at a determined price, and take or pay agreements. For example, the Canada Lithium Corp. in November 2012, announced a five-year off-take agreement with Tewoo ERDC (Tianjin Products and Energy Resources Development Co., Ltd., China) for a minimum annual commitment of 12,000 tons of battery-grade lithium carbonate, with an   additional 20% off-take in 2014.


Off-take agreements are payment agreements for a determined volume or guaranteed source of demand for the project, which can help to secure other sources of finance. A great example is from a Canadian firm, Avanti Mining Inc., who in April 2014, entered into an off-take agreement with SeAH M&S Corp. The company, SeAH M&S, will purchase, at prices based on the market price, up to 20% of its molybdenum concentrate production from its Kitsault mine over a 13 year period.

Lenders financing a project will generally make long-term sale contracts, which ensure the debt can be adequately serviced. It ensures a market for the future production of the resource. This guarantee increases the chances of acquiring financing from banks and lenders. Also, even start-up miners can get both the loan and the off-take in a single agreement. Loans linked to off-take agreements are another form of non-dilutive financing available to project developers.

Off-take agreements offer an alternative form of financing that allow junior mining companies to finance long-term developments. Of course, a successful agreement only works when both parties have done their due diligence, as well as minimize any risk associated with the extraction and processing of mineral resources.