BHI: Overall US rig count rises 1 unit, oil rigs up 2

The overall US drilling rig count edged up 1 unit to 885 rigs working during the week ended Aug. 21, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. The oil-directed count increased for the fifth straight week, rising 2 more units (OGJ Online, Aug. 14, 2015).

The overall count is now down 1,011 units year-over-year.

Last week 894 new well permits were issued, up from 832 permits issued during the previous week, according to an energy update by Raymond James & Associates. Utilizing a 4-week average, weekly permits issued were up 22 week-over-week.

“Just like the rig count, permits are currently trending above the [year-to-date] lows, but still well below levels seen this past spring,” RJA said. “With WTI closer to $40[/bbl] than $45[/bbl], operators are likely to be reassessing any plans to ramp up activity. If prices continue to fall—or even stay flat as we are modeling—from where they are currently, we do not expect to see any meaningful pickup in activity.”

Offshore rigs declining

Oil-directed rigs now total 674, up 46 units since the week ended June 26 but down 890 units year-over-year. Gas-directed rigs were unchanged at 211. The only rig considered unclassified went offline this week.

Land-based rigs gained 4 units to 847 to continue their steady climb alongside oil-directed rigs. Rigs engaged in horizontal drilling edged up a unit to 677. Directional drilling rigs, meanwhile, lost 3 units to 78.

Offshore rigs shed 3 units for the second straight week. They now total 32, of which all but one operate in the Gulf of Mexico. Notably this week, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement gave approval to Royal Dutch Shell PLC to drill to total depth the Burger J exploratory well in the Chukchi Sea (OGJ Online, Aug. 17, 2015).

After gaining 3 units last week, Canada’s rig count this week dropped 3—all oil-directed—to settle at 97. Oil-directed rigs now total 97, while gas-directed rigs are unchanged from a week ago at 111. Canada now has 197 fewer rigs working year-over-year.

Oklahoma, North Dakota lead gains

Oklahoma and North Dakota led the major oil- and gas-producing states in gains during the week, each adding 3 units to reach respective totals of 106 and 72. The Williston increased 3 units to 73, and the Cana Woodford rose 2 units to 39.

Wyoming, Alaska, and Kansas each edged up a unit to 25, 13, and 13, respectively. Unchanged from a week ago were New Mexico at 52, Ohio at 19, and Arkansas and Utah each with 4.

Louisiana, Colorado, and West Virginia each edged down a unit to respective totals of 77, 37, and 17. Pennsylvania dropped 2 units to 36—its lowest level since June 5, 2009. The Utica declined 2 units to 20, and the Marcellus edged down a unit to 52.

After 4 straight weeks of increases, Texas dropped 6 units to 383, down 505 year-over-year. Each up last week, the Barnett fell 3 units to 7, while the Permian and Eagle Ford dropped 2 units apiece to 253 and 99, respectively.

Contact Matt Zborowski at

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