Bar rooms howl on college football Saturday afternoons when the knuckleheaded penalty earned by (insert favorite team here) is offset by the knuckleheaded penalty earned by (insert archrival team here). The howls are both relief and frustration because the result can be zero yards gained or lost and the down is played over. Making the situation worse, many times we have an injury on the play and somebody has to leave the game.

I was watching our beloved Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday as I was reviewing David Otte and Missy Parker’s new Oilfield Market Report, and the Cowboys and the OMR both made me think of offsetting penalties.

The entire offshore services arena heaved a major sigh of relief this year as offshore activity began to finally pick up most everywhere, causing many offshore product lines to surge upward for the first time in four years. This is like finally getting a new coach and a star quarterback, or, at least, deep-pocketed alumni donors sending cash to foster the athletic program.

But meanwhile the US shale companies hit a rough patch and revenues are still falling — much like keeping the same, tired coach and the injured second-string QB from last season, or past donors withholding cash because they have lost faith in the program.

Half of the oilfield surged, half of the oilfield sagged. Net result? Zero change in the 2019 global oilfield equipment and services market from 2018.

The devil is in the details, of course, but for companies like Schlumberger, Halliburton and NOV, who are all heavily in the US and heavily international, everybody worked like mad and will see absolutely flat year to year sales in 2019.

And to finish the analogy, who was the injured player? Those oilfield service companies who are solely in the US land drilling and completion industry. They are being drained of capital as they fight to survive this very disappointing year just like the team whose alumni donors expect more from their team.

2019 is the Dicken’s novel, “A Tale of Two Cities”: Offshore very good, US land struggling. It’s offsetting penalties.


By the way, John Spears is a new grandfather. Help him fund little Anthony’s 2038 college freshman year at Notre Dame by buying the full report here.