Key Energy Services (KEGS) - Description of business
Key operates in two primary business segments which are well servicing and contract drilling. Key's operations are conducted domestically and in Argentina, Egypt and Canada. The following is a description of each of these business segments (for financial information regarding these business segments, see Note 13 to Consolidated Financial Statements-Business Segment Information).
Key provides a full range of well services, including rig-based services, oilfield trucking services, fishing and rental tool services, pressure pumping services and other ancillary oilfield services, necessary to maintain and workover oil and natural gas producing wells. Rig-based services include: maintenance of existing wells, workovers of existing wells, completion of newly drilled wells, recompletion of existing wells (including horizontal recompletions) and plugging and abandonment of wells at the end of their useful lives.
WELL SERVICE RIGS
Key uses its well service rig fleet to perform four major categories of rig services for oil and natural gas producers.
MAINTENANCE SERVICES. Key estimates that there are approximately 600,000 producing oil wells and approximately 300,000 producing natural gas wells in the United States. Key provides the well service rigs, equipment and crews for maintenance services, which are performed on both oil and natural gas wells, but which are more commonly required on oil wells. While some oil wells in the United States flow oil to the surface without mechanical assistance, most require pumping or some other method of artificial lift. Oil wells that require pumping characteristically require more maintenance than flowing wells due to the operation of the mechanical pumping equipment installed. Few natural gas wells have mechanical pumping systems in the wellbore, and, as a result, maintenance work on natural gas wells is less frequent.
Maintenance services are required throughout the life of most producing oil and natural gas wells to ensure efficient and continuous operation. These services consist of routine mechanical repairs necessary to maintain production from the well, such as repairing inoperable pumping equipment in an oil well or replacing defective tubing in an oil or natural gas well, and removing debris such as sand and paraffin from the well. Other services include pulling the rods, tubing, pumps and other downhole equipment out of the wellbore to identify and repair a production problem.
Maintenance services are often performed on a series of wells in proximity to each other and typically require less than 48 hours per well to complete. The general demand for maintenance services is closely related to the total number of producing oil and natural gas wells in a geographic market, and maintenance services are generally the most stable type of well service activity.
WORKOVER SERVICES. In addition to periodic maintenance, producing oil and natural gas wells occasionally require major repairs or modifications, called "workovers." Workover services are performed to enhance the current production of existing wells. Such services include extensions of existing wells to drain new formations either through deepening wellbores to new zones or through drilling of horizontal lateral wellbores to improve reservoir drainage patterns. In less extensive workovers, Key's rigs are used to seal off depleted zones in existing wellbores and access previously bypassed productive zones. Key's workover rigs are also used to convert former producing wells to injection wells through which water or carbon dioxide is then pumped into the formation for enhanced recovery operations. Other workover services include: major subsurface repairs such as casing repair or replacement, recovery of tubing and removal of foreign objects in the wellbore, repairing downhole equipment failures, plugging back the bottom of a well to reduce the amount of water being produced with the oil and natural gas, cleaning out and recompleting a well if production has declined, and repairing leaks in the tubing and casing. These extensive workover operations are normally performed by a well service rig with a workover package, which may include rotary drilling equipment, mud pumps, mud tanks and blowout preventers depending upon the particular type of workover operation. Most of Key's well service rigs are designed for and can be equipped to perform complex workover operations.
Workover services are more complex and time consuming than routine maintenance operations and consequently may last from a few days to several weeks. These services are almost exclusively performed by well service rigs.
The demand for workover services is more sensitive to expectations relating to, and changes in, oil and natural gas prices than the demand for maintenance services. As oil and natural gas prices increase, the level of workover activity tends to increase as operators seek to increase production by enhancing the efficiency of their wells at higher commodity prices with correspondingly higher rates of return.
COMPLETION SERVICES. Key's completion services prepare a newly drilled oil or natural gas well for production. The completion process may involve selectively perforating the well casing to access producing zones, stimulating and testing these zones and installing downhole equipment. Key typically provides a well service rig and may also provide other equipment such as a workover package to assist in the completion process. Producers use well service rigs to complete their wells because the rigs have specialized equipment, properly trained employees and the experience necessary to perform these services. However, during periods of weak drilling rig demand, drilling contractors may compete with service rigs for completion work.
The completion process typically requires a few days to several weeks, depending on the nature and type of the completion, and generally requires additional auxiliary equipment that can be provided for an additional fee. The demand for well completion services is directly related to drilling activity levels, which are highly sensitive to expectations relating to, and changes in, oil and natural gas prices. As the number of newly drilled wells decreases, the number of completion jobs correspondingly decreases.
PLUGGING AND ABANDONMENT SERVICES. Well service rigs and workover equipment are also used in the process of permanently closing oil and natural gas wells at the end of their productive lives. Plugging and abandonment work can be performed with a well servicing rig along with wireline and cementing equipment. The services generally include the sale or disposal of equipment salvaged from the well as part of the compensation received and require compliance with state regulatory requirements. The demand for oil and natural gas does not significantly affect the demand for plugging and abandonment services, as well operators are required by state regulations to plug a well that it is no longer productive. The need for these services is also driven by lease and/or operator policy requirements.
Upon completion of the acquisition of QSI, Key has established itself as a leading provider of
liquid/vacuum truck services and fluid transportation and disposal services for operators whose wells produce saltwater and other fluids, in addition to oil and natural gas. Of the 2,233 heavy oilfield service vehicles operated by the Company following the acquisition of QSI, the Company operates 1,026 vacuum and transport trucks in the United States. In addition, Key owns approximately 2,972 frac tanks which are used in conjunction with the fluid hauling operations.
Fluid hauling trucks are utilized in connection with drilling and workover projects, which tend to produce and use large amounts of various oilfield fluids. Fluid hauling companies transport fresh water to the well site and provide temporary storage and disposal of produced salt water and drilling/workover fluids. These fluids are picked up at the well site and transported for disposal in a salt water disposal well of which Key owns approximately 130. In addition, Key provides haul/equipment trucks that are used to move large pieces of equipment from one wellsite to the next and operates a fleet of hot oilers. Demand and pricing for these services are generally related to demand for Key's well service and drilling rigs. Fluid hauling and equipment hauling services are typically priced on a per hour basis while frac tank rentals typically are billed on a per day basis.
WELL INTERVENTION SERVICES
Through its acquisition of QSI in July 2002, Key expanded its fishing and rental tool operations and added a pressure pumping business. These operations comprise Key's Well Intervention Services Division which is part of the well servicing line of business.
Founded in 1993, QSI's fishing and rental tool operation, Quality Tubular Services, Inc. ("QTS"), provides fishing and rental tool services to major and independent oil and natural gas production companies primarily in the Gulf Coast region of the United States. QTS operates nine 24-hour service locations and four regional sales offices. The fishing tool supervisors have extensive experience with downhole problems. In addition, QTS offers a full line of services and equipment designed for the harsh elements from land to offshore. The rental tool inventory consists of tubulars, handling tools, pressure-control equipment and a fleet of power swivels. Key also provides fishing and rental tools through its Landmark Fishing and Rental Tools operation in the Mid-Continent region and at various locations throughout the country.
Key's pressure pumping business operates under the name American Energy Services, Inc. ("AES"). AES provides stimulation services, cementing services, nitrogen services, hydro-testing and production chemistry services to oil and natural gas producers. Key offers a full complement of acidizing technology, fracturing technology, nitrogen technology and cementing technology services. With over 64,000 horsepower in cementing and stimulation equipment, AES is one of the largest U.S. providers of pressure pumping services. AES was established in December 1996 and operates in the Permian Basin, the San Juan Basin, and the Mid-Continent Region.
ANCILLARY OILFIELD SERVICES
Key provides ancillary oilfield services, which include among others: wireline; well site construction; roustabout services; and foam units and air drilling services. Demand and pricing for these services are generally related to demand for Key's well service and drilling rigs.
Key provides contract drilling services to major oil companies and independent oil and natural gas producers onshore the continental United States in the Permian Basin, the Four Corners region, Michigan, the Northeast, and the Rocky Mountains and internationally in Argentina and Ontario, Canada. Contract drilling services are primarily provided under standard dayrate, and, to a lesser extent, footage or turnkey contracts. Drilling rigs vary in size and capability and may include specialized equipment. The majority of Key's drilling rigs is equipped with mechanical power systems and has depth ratings ranging from approximately 4,500 to 12,000 feet. Key has one drilling rig with a depth rating of approximately 18,000 feet. Like workover services, the demand for contract drilling is directly related to expectations relating to, and changes in, oil and natural gas prices which in turn, are driven by the supply of and demand for these commodities.
Key also operates each of its business segments discussed above in Argentina, Ontario, Canada and Egypt. Key's foreign operations currently own 25 well servicing rigs, 75 oilfield trucks and seven drilling rigs in Argentina, four well servicing rigs, four oilfield trucks and two drilling rigs in Ontario, Canada and five well servicing rigs in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Key's customers include major oil companies, independent oil and natural gas production companies, and foreign national oil and natural gas production companies. One customer in fiscal 2002, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, accounted for 10% of Key's consolidated revenues.
COMPETITION AND OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS
Despite the significant consolidation in the domestic well servicing industry, there are numerous smaller companies that compete in Key's well servicing markets. Nonetheless, Key believes that its performance, equipment, safety, and availability of equipment to meet customer needs and availability of experienced, skilled personnel is superior to that of its competitors.
In the well servicing markets, an important competitive factor in establishing and maintaining long-term customer relationships is having an experienced, skilled and well-trained work force. In recent years, many of Key's larger customers have placed increased emphasis on the safety records and quality of the crews, equipment and services provided by their contractors. Key has, and will continue to devote substantial resources toward employee safety and training programs. Management believes that many of Key's competitors, particularly small contractors, have not undertaken similar training programs for their employees. Management believes that Key's safety record and reputation for quality equipment and service are among the best in the industry.
In the contract drilling market, Key competes with other regional and national oil and natural gas drilling contractors, some of which have larger rig fleets with greater average depth capabilities and a few that have better capital resources than Key. Management believes that the contract drilling industry is less consolidated than the well servicing industry, resulting in a contract drilling market that is more price competitive. Nonetheless, Key believes that it is competitive in terms of drilling performance, equipment, safety, pricing, availability of equipment to meet customer needs and availability of experienced, skilled personnel in those regions in which it operates.
The need for well servicing and contract drilling fluctuates, primarily, in relation to the price of oil and natural gas which, in turn, is driven by the supply of and demand for oil and natural gas. As supply of those commodities decreases and demand increases, service and maintenance requirements increase as oil and natural gas producers attempt to maximize the producing efficiency of their wells in a higher priced environment.
As of June 30, 2002, Key employed approximately 7,850 persons (approximately 7,746 employees in its well servicing and contract drilling businesses and approximately 104 employees on its corporate staff). Key's employees are not represented by a labor union and are not covered by collective bargaining agreements. Key has not experienced work stoppages associated with labor disputes or grievances and considers its relations with its employees to be satisfactory.
Key's operations are subject to various local, state and federal laws and regulations intended to protect the environment. Key's operations routinely involve the handling of waste materials, some of which are classified as hazardous substances. Consequently, the regulations applicable to Key's operations include those with respect to containment, disposal and controlling the discharge of any hazardous oilfield waste and other non-hazardous waste material into the environment,
requiring removal and cleanup under certain circumstances, or otherwise relating to the protection of the environment. Laws and regulations protecting the environment have become more stringent in recent years, and may in certain circumstances impose "strict liability," rendering a party liable for environmental damage without regard to negligence or fault on the part of such party. Such laws and regulations may expose Key to liability for the conduct of, or conditions caused by, others, or for Key's acts, which were in compliance with all applicable laws at the times such acts were performed. Cleanup costs and other damages arising as a result of environmental laws, and costs associated with changes in environmental laws and regulations could be substantial and could have a material adverse effect on Key's financial condition. From time to time, claims have been made and litigation has been brought against Key under such laws. However, the costs incurred in connection with such claims and other costs of environmental compliance have not had any material adverse effect on Key's operations or financial statements in the past, and management is not currently aware of any situation or condition that it believes is likely to have any such material adverse effect in the future. Management believes that it conducts Key's operations in substantial compliance with all material federal, state and local regulations as they relate to the environment. Although Key has incurred certain costs in complying with environmental laws and regulations, such amounts have not been material to Key's financial results during the past three fiscal years.