Core Laboratories N.V. is a Netherlands limited liability company. We were established in 1936 and are one of the world's leading providers of proprietary and patented reservoir description, production enhancement and reservoir management services to the oil and gas industry. These products and services are directed toward enabling our clients to improve reservoir performance and increase oil and gas recovery from their producing fields. We have over 70 offices in more than 50 countries and have approximately 4,900 employees.
Our business strategy is to provide advanced technologies that improve reservoir performance by (i) continuing the development of proprietary technologies through client-driven research and development, (ii) expanding the services and products offered throughout our global network of offices and (iii) acquiring complementary technologies that add key technologies or market presence and enhance existing products and services.
Development of New Technologies, Services and Products
We conduct research and development to meet the needs of our clients who are continually seeking new services and technologies to lower their costs of finding, developing and producing oil and gas. While the aggregate number of wells being drilled per year has fluctuated relative to market conditions, oil and gas producers have, on a proportional basis, increased expenditures on technology services to improve their understanding of the reservoir and increase production of oil and gas from their producing fields. We intend to continue concentrating our efforts on services and technologies that improve reservoir performance and increase oil and gas recovery.
International Expansion of Services and Products
Another component of our business strategy is to broaden the spectrum of services and products offered to our clients on a global basis. We intend to continue using our worldwide network of offices to offer many of our services and products that have been developed internally or obtained through acquisitions. This allows us to enhance our revenues through efficient utilization of our worldwide network.
We continually review potential acquisitions to add key services and technologies, enhance market presence or complement existing businesses.
Marketing and Sales
We market and sell our services and products through a combination of sales representatives, technical seminars, trade shows and print advertising. Direct sales and marketing are carried out by our sales force, technical experts and operating managers, as well as by sales representatives and distributors in various markets where we do not have offices. Our Business Development group manages a Large Account Management Program to better serve our largest and most active clients by meeting with key personnel within their organization to ensure the quality of our products and services are meeting their expectations and we are addressing any issues or needs in a timely manner.
Research and Development
The market for our products and services is characterized by changing technology and frequent product introduction. As a result, our success is dependent upon our ability to develop or acquire new products and services on a cost-effective basis and to introduce them into the marketplace in a timely manner. Many of our acquisitions have allowed us to obtain the benefits of the acquired company's research and development projects without the significant costs that would have been incurred if we had attempted to develop the products and services ourselves. We incur costs as part of internal research and development and these costs are charged to expense as incurred. We intend to continue committing financial resources and effort to the development and acquisition of new products and services. Over the years, we have made a number of technological advances, including the development of key technologies utilized in our operations. Substantially all of the new technologies have resulted from requests and guidance from our clients, particularly major oil companies.
We produce data to describe a reservoir system that is used to enhance oil and gas production so that it may exceed the average oilfield recovery factor, which is approximately 40%. Two production enhancement methods commonly used are (i) hydraulic fracturing of the reservoir rock to improve flow and (ii) flooding a reservoir with water, carbon dioxide, nitrogen or hydrocarbon gases to force more oil and gas to the wellbore. Many oilfields today are hydraulically fractured and flooded to maximize oil and gas recovery. Our services and technologies play a key role in the success of both methods.
The hydraulic fracturing of a producing formation is achieved by pumping a proppant material in a gel slurry into the reservoir zone at extremely high pressures. This forces fractures to open in the rock and "props" or holds the fractures open so that reservoir fluids can flow to the production wellbore. Our data on rock type and strength are critical for determining the proper design of the hydraulic fracturing job. In addition, our testing indicates whether the gel slurry is compatible with the reservoir fluids so that damage does not occur to the porous rock network. Our proprietary and patented ZeroWash™ tracer technology is used to determine that the proppant material was properly placed in the fracture to ensure effective flow and increased recovery.
SpectraChem® is another proprietary and patented technology developed for optimizing hydraulic fracture performance. SpectraChem® is used to aid operators in determining the efficiency of the fracture fluids used. SpectraChem® tracers allow operators to evaluate the quantity of fracture fluid that returns to the wellbore during the clean-up period after a hydraulic fracturing event. This technology also allows our clients to evaluate load recovery, gas breakthrough, fluid leakoff and breaker efficiency, all of which are important factors for optimizing natural gas production after the formation is hydraulically fractured.
Core’s patented and proprietary SpectraChem® fracture diagnostic service continued to evolve with the introduction of the SpectraChem® Plus+ service in early 2009. The new SpectraChem® Plus+ service is effective in determining the effectiveness and efficiency of the hydraulic fracture stimulation of long multistage horizontal wells in gas-shale plays throughout North America. SpectraChem® Plus+ data sets are used to determine how each frac stage, which may number up to 30 per well, is flowing. Frac stages with ineffective flows may warrant further stimulation or remedial actions. In addition, SpectraChem® Plus+ data sets can be used to prove that hydraulic fracturing techniques have not invaded fresh water zones.
We conduct dynamic flow tests of the reservoir fluids through the reservoir rock, at actual reservoir pressure and temperature, to realistically simulate the actual flooding of a producing zone. We use patented technologies, such as our Saturation Monitoring by the Attenuation of X-rays (SMAX™), to help design the enhanced recovery project. After a field flood is initiated, we are often involved in monitoring the progress of the flood to ensure the maximum amount of incremental production is being achieved through the use of our SpectraFloodTM technology, which we developed to optimize sweep efficiency during field floods.
Our unique completion monitoring system, Completion Profiler™, helps to determine flow rates from reservoir zones after they have been hydraulically fractured. This provides our clients with a baseline of early production information and can be compared to subsequent production logs later in the life of the well to see if and where hydrocarbon production varies.
Our PackScan™ patented technology, which is used as a tool to evaluate gravel pack effectiveness in an unconsolidated reservoir, has contributed to our revenue growth. PackScan™ measures the density changes in the area around the tool and is designed to observe the changes within the wellbore to verify the completeness of the gravel pack protection of the wellbore without any additional rig time.
In addition to our many patented reservoir analysis technologies, we have established ourselves as a global leader in the manufacture and distribution of high-performance perforating products. Our unique understanding of complex reservoirs supports our ability to supply perforating systems engineered to maximize well productivity by reducing, eliminating and overcoming formation damage caused during the completion of oil and gas wells. Our "systems" approach to the perforating of an oil or gas well has resulted in numerous patented products. Our HERO™ (High Efficiency Reservoir Optimization) and recently introduced SuperHERO™ and SuperHERO Plus+™ perforating systems have quickly become industry leaders in enhancing reservoir performance. The SuperHERO™ and SuperHERO Plus+™ perforating systems are expected to compliment our successful HERO™ line and are designed to optimize wellbore completions and stimulation programs in gas-shale reservoirs. Evolved from our HERO™ charges, the SuperHERO™ and the SuperHERO Plus+™ charges use a proprietary and patented design of powdered metal liners and explosives technology that results in a deeper and cleaner perforating tunnel into the gas-shale reservoir. This allows greater flow of hydrocarbons to the wellbore and helps to maximize hydrocarbon recovery from the reservoir. Moreover, the deeper, near debris-free perforations enable lower fracture initiation pressures, reducing the amount of pressure-pumping horsepower required and its associated cost. SuperHERO™ and SuperHERO Plus+™ charges can eliminate the ineffective perforations that would otherwise limit daily natural gas production and hinder the optimal fracture stimulation programs needed for prolific production from the Marcellus, Barnett, Fayetteville, Haynesville and similar gas-shale formations. Our manufacturing operations in the United States and Canada continue to meet the global demand for our perforating systems through facility expansion in addition to gains in efficiency and productivity.
We have experienced technical services personnel to support clients through our global network of offices for the everyday use of our perforating systems and the rapid introduction of new products. Our personnel are capable of providing client training and on-site service in the completion of oil and gas wells. Our patented X-SPAN™ and GTX-SPAN™ casing patches are supported by our technical services personnel. These systems are capable of performing in high pressure gas environments and are used to seal non-productive reservoir zones from the producing wellbore.