Moving into the new year, the midstream consensus is that continued strong drilling in North American shale plays will keep gathering, processing, transmission and storage demands strong in 2013 and beyond.
For many in the midstream sector, 2012 has been a game of catch-up. Increased oil and natural gas production, volatile natural gas prices and a shift of focus to liquidsrich areas has left the midstream industry scrambling to alter previous plans. However—despite the compounded difficulties—the sector surges on, giving many industry insiders a positive outlook for the future.
According to one midstream executive, wherever a strong upstream economy exists, midstream investments are sure to follow. During the past few years, oil and natural gas production has exceeded expectations thanks to vast improvements in drilling and completion techniques and technologies that have left exploration and production companies with increasingly shorter drill times and higher initial production. Therefore, liquids-rich areas like the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Marcellus and even historical Midcontinent basins like the Permian in West Texas have seen a burst in infrastructure build-out.
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