Geophysical Surveying and Mapping Services

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 940 geophysical surveying and mapping service providers in the US gather, interpret, and map geophysical data, primarily for oil and natural gas companies. Individual clients commission proprietary or exclusive surveys, which generally cover a limited area. Multi-client surveys are funded by geophysical surveying companies, which then own and market or license the data to clients.

Dependence on the Fossil Fuel Industry

Demand for geophysical surveying and mapping services is dependent on the level of spending on the oil and natural gas industry, which is cyclical and affected by global market conditions.

Uneven, Seasonal Demand

Demand for geophysical surveying and mapping services is uneven and influenced by seasonal factors.

Industry size & Structure

The average geophysical mapping and surveying provider operates out of a single location, employs about 7-8 workers and generates $1-2 million annually.

    • The geophysical mapping and surveying services industry consists of about 940 firms that employ about 7,300 workers and generate about $1.7 billion annually.
    • The industry is highly concentrated; the top 50 companies account for about 80% of industry revenue.
    • Large firms, which include Dawson Geophysical, SAExploration Holdings, Echo Seismic, Breckenride Geophysical, and Paragon Geophysical Services, often have international operations
    • Small firms typically operate one or two crews and specialize in specific regions or types of operations.
                            Industry Forecast
                            Geophysical Surveying and Mapping Services Industry Growth
                            Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                            Recent Developments

                            Nov 10, 2022 - Oil And Gas Activity Remains Strong
                            • Drilling and business activity in the oil and gas industry – a demand driver for geophysical surveying and mapping services – remained strong in the latest quarter, according to two Federal Reserve Bank third quarter energy surveys. “Despite the pace of growth slowing slightly, district drilling and business activity remained solid in Q3,” the Kansas City Fed’s Chad Wilkerson said, adding “Firms reported lower growth in profits and revenues but posted the highest level of employment gains in survey history.” The two surveys spanned activity in parts of Missouri; all of Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wyoming; and the northern half of New Mexico, as well as Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico. Looking ahead, in response to a special question in the Dallas Fed’s Energy Survey, 85% of the surveyed executives said they expected a significant tightening of the oil market by the end of 2024.
                            • In a move expected to increase domestic energy production, the OPEC+ energy cartel in October 2022 agreed to its first large production cut in more than two years. The cut of two million barrels a day represents about 2% of global oil production. OPEC+, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, said it was acting amid signs of a downturn in the world economy that might cause demand for oil to weaken and prices to fall. The price of Brent crude, the international benchmark, which had eased during the summer, rose more than 1.5% after the meeting, extending the recent gains and bringing prices back to levels last seen in mid-September, The New York Times reported.
                            • The awarding of new oil and gas drilling leases has been exceptionally low under the Biden administration. An analysis by The Wall Street Journal shows that the Biden administration has leased fewer acres for oil-and-gas drilling offshore and on federal land than any other administration in its early stages dating back to the end of World War II. The Interior Department, which oversees oil leases, leased 126,228 acres for drilling during Biden’s first 19 months in office, the analysis found. No other president since Richard Nixon in 1969-70 leased out fewer than 4.4 million acres at this point in a president’s first term. During his presidential campaign, Biden pledged to stop drilling on federal lands during his presidential campaign. The scarcity of new leases on federal lands threatens to reduce drilling activity by oil and gas producers, key customers of geophysical surveying and mapping services.
                            • Included in the FY2023 budget proposal, President Biden is requesting $237.4 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). About $63.6 million of those funds would be allocated to the agency’s Conventional Energy Program, which permits geological and geophysical surveys in offshore areas of the US coasts. Surveying helps the agency evaluate offshore oil and gas resources and administer leases for drilling. Surveying also helps the agency identify and monitor sand and sediment resources and track inventory.
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