BHI: US oil rig count rises for first time in 30 weeks

A sudden 12-unit jump in oil-directed rigs during the abbreviated week ended July 2 represented their first rise since Dec. 5, 2014, and helped lift the overall US drilling rig count for a second consecutive week, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc.

The overall count, up 3 units during the week to 862, has now gained 5 units over the past 2 weeks following 28 consecutive weeks of losses (OGJ Online, June 26, 2015). The US is still down 1,012 units compared with this week a year ago.

Following a surge in well permits 2 weeks ago and last week’s first rig count rise of the year, permits last week fell to their lowest level since the Christmas-New Year’s holiday, Raymond James & Associates Inc. noted this week in an energy update.

Just 680 permits were issued, representing a 6-month low only a week after a multi-month high of 1,030 permits issued. Utilizing a 4-week average, weekly permits issued were up 40 compared with the prior week.

“While it is hard to come to much of a conclusion based on a single week of data, the 4-week average is still higher than it was 2 weeks ago, and roughly in line with the prior several weeks,” RJA explained. “Looking ahead to next week, we would expect to see another low data point given the holiday weekend. This will make it difficult to say much about what the past two weeks of permit data means until after the holiday.”

Rigs drilling horizontally rise

The jump in oil-directed rigs, which now total 640, is their largest since an 18-unit increase during the week ended Oct. 10, a recent peak when the overall count totaled 1,609. Gas rigs, meanwhile, lost 9 units to 219 following two straight weeks of gains.

Lands rigs increased 4 units to 828 as rigs engaged in horizontal drilling posted their first increase in 32 weeks, gaining 3 units to 657. Directional drilling rigs edged down a unit to 97.

Offshore rigs edged up a unit to 29. Rigs drilling in inland waters lost 2 units to 5.

Canada’s rig count has now risen in 6 of the last 8 weeks, gaining 4 units during the week to reach a total of 139. Gas-directed rigs rose 8 units to 67, marking their largest increase in 24 weeks. After 7 straight weeks of gains, oil-directed rigs lost 4 units to 72. Canada is now down 170 year-over-year.

Texas, North Dakota rise

Texas and North Dakota led the major oil- and gas-producing states each with 2 unit increases to respective totals of 363 and 76. The week marks Texas’s first rise in 32 weeks and a notable rebound for North Dakota, which last week hit its lowest level since the week ended Jan. 22, 2010.

The rises in those two states reflect 3-unit gains in each of the Eagle Ford and Williston to 106 and 77, respectively. The Permian edged up a unit to 232.

Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Ohio each edged up a unit to respective totals of 106, 45, and 18. Unchanged from a week ago were Pennsylvania at 47, Wyoming at 21, California at 11, Alaska at 10, and Utah at 8.

Colorado, West Virginia, Kansas, and Arkansas each edged down a unit to 37, 19, 12, and 4, respectively. Last week’s leader in gains Louisiana led in losses this week, dropping 2 units to 73.

Contact Matt Zborowski at

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