BHI: US rig count falls under 1,000 for first time since 2009

After noticeably slowed declines over the previous 2 weeks, the US drilling rig count fell 40 units to 988 rigs working during the week ended Apr. 10, settling under 1,000 for the first time since Sept. 11, 2009, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc.

Forty-one units went offline during the previous 2 weeks (OGJ Online, Apr. 2, 2015).

The count has fallen in 18 consecutive weeks, during which time it has plunged 932 units (OGJ Online, Dec. 5, 2014). The total of 988 is the lowest since Aug. 21, 2009, and 843 fewer units compared with this week a year ago.

The average US rig count for March was 1,110, down 238 from February’s average, and down 693 from the average in March 2014.

During the week, virtually all of the declines in the US comprised land-based oil rigs. Land rigs and oil rigs plunged 42 units each to respective totals of 951 and 760.

Offshore rigs ended its weeks-long losing streak with a 2-unit gain to 33. Gas rigs gained 3 units to 225.

Rigs drilling in inland waters were unchanged at 4.

Rigs engaged in horizontal drilling plunged 29 units to 770. Since Nov. 21, 602 horizontal units have gone offline. Rigs drilling directionally dropped 3 units to 90.

BHI this week, meanwhile, suspended effective immediately its quarterly publication of the US onshore well count “in response to the recent market downturn and internal initiatives to reduce costs.”

Declines still concentrated in Texas

A 29-unit plunge to 427 rigs drilling in Texas led the major oil- and gas-producing states. Texas has now lost more than half of its rigs year-over-year, shedding 457 units.

The count is Texas’s lowest since Nov. 6, 2009, and is down 479 units since Nov. 21.

The state’s losses were represented by respective 21-unit and 12-unit declines in the Permian and Eagle Ford to 264 and 125. Year-over-year, the Permian and Eagle Ford are respectively down 272 and 95 units.

Economist Karr Ingham recently said he expects the rig count in Texas will continue drifting downward for another 6 months at least (OGJ Online, Apr. 10, 2015).

Oklahoma and New Mexico were next up with 5-unit and 4-unit losses respectively to 124 and 47. North Dakota lost 2 units to 88. Colorado, Wyoming, and Ohio each edged down a unit to 36, 27, and 26, respectively.

Unchanged from a week ago were Louisiana at 67, Pennsylvania at 50, West Virginia at 22, California at 15, Alaska at 13, and Utah at 8.

Kansas and Arkansas were the only states to report increases, each edging up a unit to 13 and 9, respectively.

Outside the US

Canada’s rig count merely edged down 1 unit to 99, but it represented the first time the country’s total fell below 100 since May 29, 2009. That 1 rig targeted gas, bringing its total to 79. Oil rigs were unchanged at 20.

The average Canadian rig count for March was 196, down 167 from February and down 253 from March 2014.

Rystad Energy forecasts a 30% decrease in total 2015 upstream activity in Canadian tight oil and shale gas plays compared with 2014, with consequences being felt in 2016 as a result of cost cuts made this year.

The worldwide rig count for March, meanwhile, was 2,557, down 429 from February and 1,040 from March 2014. Outside of North America, the Middle East led the way in losses with an 8-unit decline to 407. Asia-Pacific and Africa each lost 7 units to 233 and 125, respectively. Latin America was down 4 units to 351. Europe, on the other hand, gained 2 units to 135.

Raymond James & Associates noted that Venezuela saw the largest decline in Latin America, losing 10 rigs, partially offset by a 6-unit increase in Argentina and 5-unit increase in Mexico. RJA also noted that OPEC rig counts, down 16, fell further than other non-OPEC, non-North America regions, down 8.

“Rig counts fell dramatically in North America, while international rigs saw a slight decline across most regions, and we would expect larger rig count declines to come globally throughout the remainder of the year,” RJA said.

Contact Matt Zborowski at

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