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Wrapping Up 2019: West Texas Oil Economy in Review

M&M Sales & Equipment supports our local communities and one way that we do that is by staying informed on the issues that matter to you. We provide products of all kinds including cutting tools like end mills, face mills, grooving inserts and drill bits to various industries, and we have a special relationship with those working in oil and gas. As 2020 kicks off, we wanted to take a look back and reflect on how the oil industry has impacted West Texas residents and beyond over the past year.

Oil Activity in Early 2019

Back in March of 2019, we explored West Texas’ boom-bust oil industry and shared some expert insights on the status of crude oil production and where it was headed. The U.S. Department of Energy expected the Permian Basin to pump 3.9 million barrels of oil per day (bpd), with futures anticipated at 9 million bpd by 2021.

We also shared examples of how the oil boom was impacting West Texas and its residents. Rising employment rates were a welcome relief to many who were impacted by massive layoffs in 2016, but food and housing costs also skyrocketed, hitting those same residents square in the pocketbook. Though market conditions looked good, West Texans are used to the ebb and flow of the oil industry and remain cautious. The old saying, “Oil giveth and oil taketh away” is one that’s always on the minds of those who live here.

Related: 2019 Oil Forecast in West Texas: Boom Expected to Continue

Year End Oil Report

As we continued throughout the year, the outlook remained positive overall. Energy technology company Baker Hughes recently reported an increase of four rigs bringing the active U.S. rig total to 667. Our own Texas rig count remained unchanged from the week prior at 400, but down 132 from 2018.

What’s interesting is that according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States exported 90,000 bpd more total crude oil and petroleum in September 2019 than we imported. This marks the first recorded month in U.S. history that the United States exported more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported. This supports the 2019 Annual Energy Outlook that forecast that the U.S. would become a net energy exporter by 2020.

While crude oil production looks healthy, coal consumption continues its decades-long decline.  Reports show that U.S. coal production employment has fallen 42% since 2001 (EIA). That seems to align with the decrease in Texas coal production from over 40 million short tons in 2014 down to roughly 25 million short tons in 2018.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, employment in oil and gas extraction jobs in Texas remain steady around 78,600. The Permian Basin maintains healthy crude oil production numbers of around 4.5 million bpd, meeting and exceeding the U.S. Department of Energy’s prediction earlier in the year. (View 2019 Energy Slideshow here)

Looking Ahead to 2020

As of the Dec. 10 report, the U.S. is still on pace to average 13.2 million bpd in 2020, a 0.9 million bpd increase from 2019 (EIA). It’s important to note that this is a slowdown from 2018 numbers, and the decrease in crude oil production is due to a continuing decline in drilling rigs. A decline in drilling rigs and wells drying up are factors that could impede the United States’ race to become a world’s leading oil producer. To keep pace, technological improvements must continue to support sustainable growth.

There is anticipation that because of rising global oil inventories, crude oil prices will be lower in 2020 than in 2019, but that remains to be seen. In a December article in the New York Times, it was reported that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia agreed to make cuts in production to compensate for higher oil output. But their cuts have done little to raise crude oil prices in the past due to the steady increase in U.S. shale oil production, especially those barrels from the West Texas area. Only time will tell.

Stay in the know with us. Keep on the lookout for future articles discussing both the local economy here in West Texas, as well as what’s happening in the world. We would love to hear your insight and how you are impacted by our regional and global oil industry. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

We are your cutting tools specialists and are committed to helping you remain profitable and productive in a changing world. Have questions? Reach out to us by clicking here.

5 Ways to Reduce Scrap in Your Metal Cutting Operations

What is scrap? For starters, it can be anything that results in wasted material and a need to perform rework of some kind. In the metal cutting world, scrap can take the shape of discarded or excess material, non-returnable components, metal shavings, unusable parts and nonmetal waste. Scrap is often considered an inevitable part of the manufacturing process and may not seem like much in the short term, but over time can add up to major losses. Think about all the time you spend reworking entire batches of parts due to machining mistakes or operator error. Some scrapped parts may be able to be refinished and put to use so the loss in time and labor is minimal, but other times the pieces may have to be thrown out.

Scrap can be a serious problem, but let’s not focus on the negative. If you’re experiencing levels of scrap that are costing you time and money, there is a HUGE opportunity for you to make a few changes to your operations that will reduce scrap and lead to cost savings. In fact, setting your sights on scrap reduction may be the single greatest thing you can do for your company this year.

To get started, consider hiring a consulting firm to help you identify areas of waste leading to excessive scrap. If you would rather go it alone, here are a few tips to begin improving operations and reduce your scrap rate:

1. Electronically document material usage.
Are you still using pen and paper to manually log material usage and machining data? While documentation of any kind is certainly better than none at all, let’s take a look at why paper documentation isn’t ideal. One reason is human error. Sometimes, data isn’t recorded accurately. Without this key data, how can a company realize the root of a problem and decide on a solution? Paper documentation also limits the availability of information for certain members of the team. Imagine the confusion that happens when your team must hunt down critical information to perform their tasks. Storing and sharing this information electronically ensures all members of your team communicate effectively.

2. Optimize machining processes.
If you haven’t been documenting material usage, then it’s impossible to know where and how materials are being used or misused. Once you develop a plan to thoroughly document all the moving parts in your manufacturing process you can begin to optimize those areas that are generating the most waste. This requires a hands-on approach. Head down to the production floor and watch each stage. Take note of areas you feel could be improved, machinery that should be replaced or ways you could streamline the process. Sometimes, all the data in the world won’t provide the information you can capture with your own two eyes.

3. Automate when possible.
Not only can automation improve worker safety in your facility, but it can improve the safe handling of parts through reduced employee touchpoints. Machines can be calibrated for precision cuts and bends in various types of metal, reducing the amount of scrap generated. You can also install sensor technology that can alert you immediately to any machinery issues that could interfere with optimum production.

4. Use the right tool for the job.
When trying to stay in budget on an order, it can be tempting to cut costs with cheaper tooling and machinery. Unfortunately, using inferior equipment typically leads to increased scrap costs, machine downtime and higher material usage. By choosing the right tool for the job, you can be sure to machine parts correctly the first time, rather than waste precious resources on rework.

For tips on how to reduce machine downtime in your facility, read What’s Machine Downtime Really Costing You? (And How to Avoid It)

5. Involve the entire team.
Any time that you make changes to standard operating procedures is a great time to roll out those changes to all affected employees. Not only is it critical for safety, but the more knowledgeable your workers are about the new processes, the less mistakes and costly errors your operation will experience. Take a page from the lean manufacturing playbook and consider performance-based bonuses for employees that identify areas of waste and offer solutions to reduce scrap rates and inefficiency.

We understand you have a tough job to do, and we want to help improve your operations and increase your profitability. If you have questions on how M&M Sales & Equipment can help your business succeed, call one of our four Texas locations.

The Guide to Choosing the Right Saw Blades for Optimum Productivity

Choosing the right saw blade is critical to a manufacturing facility or machine shop’s profitability and productivity. Not doing so can lead to shorter blade life or complete blade failure diminishing any potential for efficiency. So, we created a handy guide that can help break down the terminology surrounding saw blade selection, as well as provide tips on extending blade life and how to properly break in your new blade. Whether you are sawing large workpieces or difficult to cut materials, knowing your blade can mean the difference between making money or losing it.

Common Saw Blades

Source: Lenox Tools

Circular Saw Blades: For use with miter saws, table saws, radial arm saws, cut-off saws and standard circular saws, these blades come in a variety of materials that can cut metal, wood, cement, glass or laminates. We sell a variety of metal circular saw blades from names like Lenox, Fein and Evolution! Be sure to ask about our Fiber cut-off wheels from Pferd and United Abrasives/SAIT.

Carbide Tipped Band Saw Blades: Designed to cut composites, metal and wood. High-performance steel and optimized carbide grades cut faster and last longer in a wide variety of sawing applications. For band saw blades, we offer a wide selection of blades from Lenox, Starrett and Arntz.

Bi-Metal Band Saw Blades: Bi-metal band saw blades are among the most versatile choice for most metal sawing applications involving a wide variety of materials such as aluminum and non-ferrous metals, carbon and structural steel. They’re cost effective, perform well and have long blade life with high-speed tooth tips and flexible alloy steel back.

Carbon Band Saw Blades: Economical and reliable, carbon band saw blades are great for general purpose and utility sawing. They are used to cut a variety of materials from carbon steels and aluminum to abrasive materials such as wood and fiberglass. Ideal for small maintenance and light-production shops.

Reciprocating Saw Blades: Whether it’s tile, clay, wood, cast iron, bricks or metals there’s a reciprocating saw blade for the job. Reciprocating saws are versatile in that you can swap out different blades for different materials. Ideal for maintenance, demo or repair applications.

Cold Saw Blades: High-speed steel cold saw blades are often used for cutting pipes, tubes and other solid steel materials. Many types of cold saw blades can be re-sharpened and used several times before replacing. The name comes from the transfer of heat energy during the cutting process. The blade and work material stay cold and the heat is expelled in the chip.

Grit Edge Saw Blades: Carbide Grit Edge Blades offer a seamless cut into abrasive and hardened materials, fiberglass, steel belted radial tires and other composites.

Hole Saws: Hole saw blades cut clean and accurate holes in a variety of materials from metals, woods or plastics.

Annular Cutters: Similar to a hole saw but runs in a magnetic drill. We offer a variety of premium annular cutters from FEIN.

Did you know? M&M Sales & Equipment can weld ¼-inch to 1 ½ inch wide saw blade material to any length on site; we also have the most popular lengths in stock from our supplier partners.

Understanding the Parts of Your Saw Blade

The Gullet is the space between each saw tooth that allows for efficient chip removal. The larger the material or the faster the feed rate, the deeper the gullet (such as in a 2/3 variable tooth blade that has a much bigger gullet than an 8/12 variable tooth’s gullet) and the more chips that are expelled.

Tooth Construction is another critical part of how your saw blades are made. Different tooth constructions offer different advantages. For instance, a carbide tipped tooth offers a longer lasting and smoother cutting blade.

Tooth Form refers to the shape of the tooth. The shape impacts how a blade cuts through material and can extend blade life, control noise level and provide a smoother cut and chip capacity.

  • Variable Positive shape offers variable tooth spacing and gullet capacity for less noise and vibration, while simultaneously allowing for faster cuts, longer blade life and smoother cuts.
  • Variable shape is similar to Variable Positive, but can be used for slower cutting rates.
  • Standard is a good multipurpose shape that can be used in many various applications.
  • Skip shape has a wide gullet ideal for non-metallic applications.
  • Hook shape is similar to the Skip, but can be used on metal and non-metal applications.

Tooth Set refers to the number of teeth and the angle that they are offset. Different tooth sets impact cutting efficiency and chip carrying ability. For a clear visual on how tooth set can differ, refer to this guide from Lenox Tools.

Kerf Width is the width of the cut made by the blade into the desired material. Full kerf blades remove about 1/8” of material, while thin kerfs generally remove about 3/32” of material. Because the full kerf removes more material, it’s best to use with a more powerful saw. Thin kerf blades can be used with saws that use less horsepower.

Other consumables that can help or hinder cutting conditions are choices of hydraulic oil and cutting fluids. But it always comes down to blade selection. Choosing a better crafted blade designed for an application results in better wear and heat-resistance, fewer changeouts, better accuracy and less waste.

Learn more about blade maintenance in “How Do I Choose the Right Saw Blade for My Project? 

To avoid blade failure and get the most out of your new saw blade, remember these blade break-in tips:

  1. Choose the proper band speed for material to be cut.
  2. Set the beginning band feed rate at 50% of normal/recommended feed rate.
  3. Begin the first cut and once 50-70 in2  of material has been cut, gradually increase feed rate to normal.
  4. If chatter/noise occurs, adjust cutting speed.

To learn more about the different types and brands of saw blades we offer, reach out to M&M Sales & Equipment representatives or stop in at one of our four locations in Texas.

The Rise and Fall of Crude Oil Production and Its Impact on the Permian Basin

All eyes are on the U.S. oil production rates and prices per barrel. Where will they go next?

According to an article published in Forbes magazine, U.S. Crude Production Returns to Record Levels, the recent attacks on Saudi’s oil infrastructure had a lesser impact on the world’s oil markets than expected. The reason? Over the past decade, oil production in the United States has experienced steady and, at times, explosive growth. The resulting oil production stabilized world markets despite recent events and has kept all eyes locked on the future of U.S. oil. The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) did experience an increase of $2, however, bringing the average price to $57 per barrel. (Dallas Fed: October 2, 2019

You may remember an article we posted over the summer that discussed pessimism over oil well productivity. We shared an article from Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ) where Rystad Energy indicated that they could not find sufficient evidence that oil and gas well performance showed any signs of decline. They also concluded that average new production per well matched all-time highs found earlier in the year.

Production growth did appear to be slowing during the summer months, but it has started to rise a bit. Speaking to the constant ebb and flow of oil production, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the final week in September showed weekly U.S. crude oil production numbers that tied the all-time production record of 12.5 million barrels per day (BPD) experienced a month prior.

At the beginning of October, the numbers fell slightly but remained 1.3 million BPD higher than the previous year. During the second week of October, the EIA reported the 332,000 BPD decrease in U.S. crude oil production in July was geographically isolated to the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico. This was due to Hurricane Barry and is likely temporary, they say. They also anticipate production to continually increase each month resulting in 13 million BPD in December 2019.

So, where does that leave the Permian Basin and West Texas?

Well, that’s tough to say. Robert Rapier, a senior contributor for Forbes, reports that nearly half of the reported 400,000 BPD increase since the summer months hail from the Permian Basin. However, Permian rig counts continue to fall and that seems to be in line with overall U.S. counts (see chart below). On the other hand, production is climbing and well completions have picked up partly due to recent pipeline capacity.

Baker Hughes Rig Count as of Oct. 4, 2019:

Area Last Count (2019) Count Change from Prior Count Date of Prior Count (2019) Change from Last Year Date of Last Year’s Count (2018)
U.S. Oct 4 855 -5 Sept 27 -197 Oct 5 2018
Canada Oct 4 144 +17 Sept 27 -38 Oct 5 2018
International Sept 2019 1,131 -7 Aug 2019 +127 Sept 2018

Source: Baker Hughes

With all the ups and downs, there’s quite a bit of chatter about a slowdown throughout the Basin. We caught an article on Bloomberg that spoke about the loss of oil jobs in the region, fewer hotel proceeds and a 19 percent drop in drilling. A drop that’s affecting everything from the building of well-site roads to the chemicals used to kill bacteria during hydraulic fracturing.

Slowly, unemployment rates are creeping up as well. According to the Dallas Fed, the rate was 2.3 percent in August, an increase of 0.3 percent from May. The Permian Basin’s unemployment rate is still well below the Texas rate of 3.4 percent, but employment growth has slowed. The number of home sales are also slowing, but the prices of homes are climbing, bringing the median home price to $308,634.

These projections are a far cry from the hustle and bustle the region experienced just a year earlier when radio ads were filled with companies looking to fill shale-patch jobs. We’d love to hear your projections for what’s next in the Permian Basin. In what ways are you feeling the impact of the everchanging oil market? How will this impact your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

What do you expect in 2020?

Please answer these two questions. Your response is anonymous.

Is Pessimism Over Oil Well Productivity in West Texas Premature?

You may recall a recent post titled Steady as it Goes for Permian Basin Rig Counts where we shared April 2019 oil rig count data as supplied by Baker Hughes. We also asked the question, “Why has there been a slowdown in oil drilling?” and countered it was likely due to spending cuts from independent exploration and production companies. At the time, it appeared that crude prices would continue to go down. However, the latest rig-count report shows the number of oil rigs in the Permian Basin is holding mostly steady.

Let’s take a look at the most recent Baker Hughes report from August:

The U.S. Rig Count is down four from the last count performed in July of this year and down 104 from the count performed in August of last year. According to recent reports from Baker Hughes, Midland County, Texas, gained two rigs and the Permian Basin lost one. Texas is up one rig totaling 455.

See chart below for additional details.

Area Last Count (2019) Count Change from Prior Count Date of Prior Count (2019) Change from Last Year Date of Last Year’s Count (2018)
U.S. August 2 942 -4 July 26 -102 August 3
Canada August 2 137 +10 July 26 -86 August 3
International June 1,138 +12 May +179 June

Despite somewhat favorable results, there is still some pessimism regarding well productivity in the Permian Basin. Many firms fear the state of oil and gas well performance in West Texas due to the depletion of core inventory, growth in the share of child wells and well-spacing challenges. However, we discovered an article featured in Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ) that may shed some light on why that pessimism may be premature. In it, OGJ reports that Rystad Energy is holding firm on their outlook for the basin. In fact, Rystad’s Head of Shale Research, Artem Abramov, was quoted as saying, “We conclude that the average new production per well in the basin matches the all-time highs seen in early 2019 despite depletion concerns.” View the entire article here.

One potential downside associated with the increase of crude oil production in the Permian Basin is the likely increase in natural gas. According to World Oil, current constraints on natural gas pipelines may reduce oil drilling in areas that have heavy concentrations of natural gas. That said, Pipeline & Gas Journal reports that pipeline operator Magellan Midstream Partners LP expects new pipelines to be in the works to help improve the crude oil bottleneck in the Permian Basin.

Share your thoughts on today’s oil and gas news. How will it impact your business?

How to Choose the Right Drill Bit for Your Application

Drill bits. One of the most useful and versatile tools that exist. You may be surprised to know that using the wrong one can not only hinder production, but could be costing more than you may think. That’s why it’s important to choose drill bits that are optimized for the application. Otherwise, you’re likely to be replacing the bits and the tools too often. Not only that, but you risk damaging the workpiece and having to start over.

Machinists and fabricators use drills daily, and proper drill bit selection can save both time and money. If you are looking to get the best machining result, here are some things to consider when choosing a drill bit for your next project.

Choosing the Right Drill Bit for the Job

Morse Cutting Tools – HSS

There are countless drill bits on the market today, making selection both difficult and time consuming. Two main categories of drill bits include standard bits used with handheld drills or drill presses and boring machine bits that are used in automated machinery like drill banks and CNC machines. Here are some brief explanations of various types of drill bits.

Twist Drill bits are the most common and can be used in a variety of everyday tasks from drilling woods, metal and plastic. They are made from High-Speed Steel or Carbon Steel.

Counterbore bits create a flat bottom blind hole with a smaller diameter center hole. These are often used to create a recess that can hide a fastener head.

Countersink bits create a tapered surface hole with a smaller center hole to allow fastener to sit flush with the material.

Flat Bottom Boring bits are similar to counterbores, but do not have a center drill.

Specialty bits are essentially all bits that don’t fit into the above categories and can be used with glass, tile or other specialty materials.

Coolant Through Drills have coolant ports that run through the drill and feed coolant to the cutting edge, allowing for faster cutting and improved chip evacuation. Used in high performance drilling operations.

Exchangeable Tip Drills have replaceable carbide heads or tips that saves time when changing tools and saves money over larger solid carbide drills. They also boost productivity in many machining applications.

Spade Drills have spade inserts that allow for cost effective drilling of deep holes and large diameter holes. They also run well on older machines and at lower speeds than high performance carbide drills.

Inserted Drills have multiple carbide inserts that handle the metal cutting. They are faster than HSS and cobalt drills, are cost effective and many can be used to “turn” the hole to a larger diameter than the drill size, much like using a boring bar in a lathe.

Understanding Drill Bit Materials

Drillco Drills

Certain tooling and machining operations require specialized drill bits that allow for effective drilling, without burning out too quickly.  Below, you’ll find some common drill bit materials and their uses.

Cobalt (HSCO): Despite being more brittle than HSS, cobalt drill bits are ideal for drilling harder steel as well as stainless steel grades. They are often more expensive than other drill bits but tend to last longer.

Carbide (Carb): Carbide is considered the hardest and most brittle drill bit material and can cut hardened steel, stainless steel and aluminum with ease. Ask if the CoroDrill 860 from Sandvik Coromant is right for you.

Diamond: These bits are effective for drilling tile, stone or other hard material and the use of water is recommended to prevent damage to the workpiece or tool. These are costly, so they are recommended for use in very specific tasks.

High-Speed Steel (HSS): High-Speed Steel bits are harder, more resistant to heat and can drill metal at greater cutting speeds than high-carbon steel. Ask about our HSS drills from Morse or Drillco that are available in a variety of lengths, including jobber and stub/screw.  

How Flute Design Impacts Cut

Flutes are grooves that are cut into the body of the drill bits to provide cutting surfaces, permit removal of chips and allow cutting fluids to reach cutting surfaces. There are different variations of flutes, but here are some common ones you should know.

Standard: Standard flutes are the most common and have a circular cross section.

Parabolic Design: This refers to the open geometry and faster spiral of a twist drill bit. It offers improved chip evacuation, increased feed rate, shorter cycle times and reduces the need for a peck cycle. It’s also less likely to jam and break.

Straight Flute: Used when drill rigidity is more important than chip evacuation, especially in short chipping materials. Also, can be used when the workpiece is spinning instead of the drill itself.

Source: CNC Cookbook

Drill Point Coatings Explained

Coatings reduce friction when drilling. That reduction of heat helps to protect the drill bit and improves the flow of material out of the hole. See below for a brief explanation of various drill point coatings.

Black Oxide is a black surface coating that improves heat resistance, reduces friction and increases chip flow.

Bronze Oxide coatings help to increase tempering and relieves stress on the bit.

Bright drill points do not have a coating, but they are polished for increased chip flow and can be used in plastics, woods and aluminum.

Titanium Nitride (TiN) coatings help drills run faster and increases tool life because it increases the hardness of the bit. Look for drill points to be gold in color.

Titanium Carbonitride (TiCN) is ideal for stainless steel, cast iron and aluminum as it is harder and more wear-resistant than other coatings. Look for drill points to be a blue-gray in color.

Titanium Aluminum Nitride (TiALN) is ideal for use in high-alloy carbon steels, nickel-based materials and titanium, but should not be used for drilling aluminum. Look for drill point color to be violet.

“Man must shape his tools lest they shape him.”

Choosing the wrong tools can impact your productivity and profitability. With so many options out there, choosing the right cutting tools can be overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to be. We take pride in the level of knowledge and experience the M&M Sales & Equipment team has to offer our customers.

If you’re looking to improve production in your facility, but don’t know where to start, give us a call or stop in at one of our four locations. We offer a variety of quality drills from top-rated brands like Drillco, Morse, Guhring and Sandvik Coromant. Whatever your production needs are, M&M Sales & Equipment can help you get it done. Contact us today.

How Do I Choose the Right Saw Blade for My Project?

Every facility can improve productivity, profitability and safety with the proper tools. Cutting tools like saw blades are no different. Many of the saw blades on the market are manufactured with technology that allows them to cut faster and cleaner and stay sharper longer.

Yet, it’s not always cut and dry when it comes to choosing the best cutting tools for the job. Choosing the right cutting, forging or processing tools is important whether you’re a professional working in an industrial facility or you’re a weekend warrior taking on a home improvement project. Either way, we want to be sure you have the tools you need to get the job done well.

Next time you’re choosing a saw blade, ask yourself these simple questions:

What kind of saw will be used?

All saws, including band saws, circular saws, radial-arm saws, chop saws or compound miter saws require different types of saw blades. Using the wrong one can not only impede production, it can be downright dangerous and ruin your tool as well. No one wants to experience downtime when trying to complete a project. Having to stop to repair or replace your tools can cost you time and money.

What material will you be cutting?

Light-gauge steel, stainless steel, natural stone, concrete, ceramic tiles and various kinds of wood all require blades made from specific materials. Use the wrong saw blade material and you may as well be using a butter knife. Some of the most common saw blades for metalworking include Carbon Hard Back, Carbon Flex Back, Bi-Metal, Carbide Tipped and Grit Edge. We carry a huge selection of metal-cutting tools and supplies from industry leaders like LENOX, Starrett, Arntz, Fein and Evolution.

How often will the saw blade be used?

It’s just common sense that the more you use a saw blade, the quicker it will dull. Remember to regularly inspect your blades for wear. For daily cutting practices, implement an inspection schedule into your standard operating procedures. This is especially important in manufacturing facilities and plants when there are multiple shifts. For safety be sure to keep a changeout log handy, so that the next person to use the tool will know exactly when maintenance is required.

M&M Sales & Equipment recommends these preventative maintenance and safety tips:

  1. Always wear safety glasses, goggles or face shield.
  2. Clamp your workpiece to keep both hands on the cutting tool, if applicable.
  3. Clear blades of debris and replace blades regularly.
  4. Double-check and test parameter settings (speed and feed rate).
  5. Use guarding when appropriate.
  6. Check coolant levels.

Our partner Lenox offers a blade selector on their website to get you started. Access the Lenox Blade Selector here. We can help you select exactly the right cutting tools you need to work safely and effectively. Just contact us and a member of our staff will happily answer any questions you have. M&M Sales & Equipment is here with expert advice when you need it. Just stop in or call one of our four locations in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth.

Steady as it goes for Permian Basin rig counts

Steady as it Goes for Permian Basin Rig Counts

How Rig Counts Indicate Oil and Gas Economic Health

Since 1944, Baker Hughes has been supplying data on rotary rig counts to give insight into the economic health of our energy industry. Beginning in 1975, the company started providing monthly international rig counts, which offers a more in-depth look into the drilling industry. Baker Hughes Rig Counts has been consistent for more than 70 years and is considered a good measuring tool for demand. The active rig count is also a leading indicator of the number of products used in drilling, completing, producing and processing hydrocarbons (oil and gas).

Let’s look at the most recent summary count from April 2019:

We know that the oil industry is a never-ending cycle of highs and lows, and this latest report shows U.S. oil rig counts are a bit unsteady. According to an article published by Reuters, U.S. energy firms reduced the number of oil rigs operating to the lowest level in almost nine months.

Why the slowdown in oil drilling?

It may be due to independent exploration and production companies cutting spending to focus on earnings growth instead of simply upping output. It’s projected that crude prices will drop going further into 2019, so firms are bracing themselves for the change.

For the Permian basin however, numbers are holding steady compared with the rest of the country. The Permian Basin’s active rig count is staying steady at 459, down one from the prior week and up one from the prior year.

That’s good news for Texas and both the businesses and families impacted by the ebb and flow of the energy trade. We have a vested interest in the economic health of the industry, that’s why we thought we’d pass on this bit of information to our customers and friends. Be sure to stay up to date on the issues that matter to you by checking out our blog.

If you ever need help selecting the right cutting tools, abrasives or safety supplies, contact M&M Sales & Equipment. We’d be happy to help.

See Dormer Pramet Metal Cutting Tools in Action (Video)

At M&M Sales and Equipment, we’re always on the hunt for innovative products that can save our customers time and money.

Dormer Pramet is one of the oldest specialist manufacturers of engineered cutting tools. Dormer Pramet has been a game-changer when it comes to their selection of cost-effective metal cutting tools.

With their combined 150 years of industry experience, we feel confident showcasing Dormer Pramet’s expertise and products. Have a look at these innovative products that help you take control of your difficult cutting materials:

Hydra High-Performance Replaceable Head Drills

Dormer Pramet introduces the Hydra High-Performance Replaceable Head Drill. It’s made from tough micrograin carbide and a hardened steel body that makes it resistant to wear and corrosion. Plus, one body fits multiple heads for multiple materials — saving money in inventory costs and overhead. Other impressive features of this drill include superior hole surface finish, efficient coolant delivery and reduction of forces when it exits the workpiece.

Hand Drilling HSS Stainless Steel – A108 Drill

Do you find that your industry-standard drills blunt quickly and have a hard time penetrating stainless steel? If you find yourself going through more drill bits than you’d like and constantly having to stop drilling to lubricate, you’re going to want to look at this. The A108’s material-specific geometry cuts through stainless steel, making hand drilling easier and faster than ever. And its steam-tempered finish delivers improved wear resistance, saving you expensive replacement costs.

M&M Sales and Equipment is committed to being your go-to source for all your cutting tools, abrasives, safety supplies and more in West Texas, with locations in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth. If you’re interested in discovering whether Dormer Pramet is the right solution for your facility, contact M&M Sales and Equipment today.

2019 Oil Forecast in West Texas: Boom Expected to Continue

West Texas is experiencing yet another comeback within the boom-bust oil industry. The revitalization is welcome to residents and businesses alike who hope activity continues to build on economic improvement through the region.  

Just 10 years ago, West Texas was dubbed a “dead area” by many in the oil industry. But today, oil pumps churn from countless oil wells throughout the Permian Basin. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Permian Basin is expected to produce 3.9 million barrels of oil per day (bopd) in 2019. That accounts for about one-third of all crude oil produced in the United States and the numbers are expected to grow, reaching over 9 million bopd by 2021.
 
Domestic numbers are expected to keep increasing, with the potential to reach a record 14 million bopd by late 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO 2019). The bulk of that growth comes straight from the Permian Basin, an area that covers more than 75,000 square miles in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico.

The reason for this massive growth? The Permian Basin has benefited from technological improvements and more cost-effective hydraulic fracturing that allows producers to extract more crude oil from the shale formation. A recent report by CNBC has pipeline capacity increasing triple-fold by 2021, from 3 million to 9 million pipelines. The increase in capacity should help unclog the transportation bottleneck the Permian Basin has been battling, helping producers move more oil into the Gulf Coast and on to refineries and ports worldwide.

As crude oil production increases and domestic consumption of petroleum decreases, the AEO 2019 report also anticipates the U.S. will become a net energy exporter by 2020. In fact, the U.S. will likely pass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s leading oil producer. But it’s important to remember that wells dry up rather quickly and require more drilling to keep pace, so technological improvements must remain a major consideration. 

What this means for West Texas Oil & Gas

Short-term “man-camps” are springing up everywhere and flashy new billboards dot the highway, advertising Rolexes and other high-ticket items to oil workers pulling in six-figure salaries. 

Compared with Gulf Coast barrel prices, oil in the center of the Permian Basin (Midland and Odessa) is priced lower but steadily climbing. West Texas Intermediate crude rose from $56.79 a barrel in the beginning of March and rose to just over $60 by the third week, while Louisiana Light hovers just over $68 a barrel.  

It’s not hard to remember the effects of falling oil prices in 2016. Many workers in West Texas were displaced when prices dropped to $30 per barrel. The drop led to massive layoffs and declining rig counts. Fortunately, rising oil prices are a good sign for employment rates and wages. Entry-level jobs are boasting $15 an hour pay with full benefits packages, but motels have jacked up the rates to hundreds of dollars a night. Food and housing costs are also soaring.  

With any boom, the threat of a bust is always on the minds of Texans, but local officials and industry executives think it’s different this time. The advances in fracking has made oil extraction possible in areas deemed impossible in prior years. Now the problem isn’t finding oil, it’s making sure the infrastructure is there to handle the amount of oil and gas that’s being extracted.  

At M&M Sales and Equipment, we support our local communities, oil workers and the businesses that supply them. That’s why we believe it’s important to keep our fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the industries that impact us all. Stayed tuned here on our Blog or visit us on social to stay up-to-date on the industry news that matters to you.  
 
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