BHI: US rig count resumes decline, drops 12 units

The overall US drilling rig count dropped 12 units to 775 rigs working during the week ended Oct. 30, resuming its downward trend after sitting unchanged a week ago, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. (OGJ Online, Oct. 23, 2015). The new total is the lowest since Apr. 26, 2002.

Since Aug. 21, the count has fallen 110 units after a short-lived summer rebound. Compared with this week a year ago, the count has lost 1,154 units.

The usual flurry of third-quarter earnings reports began to hit newswires this week, with net losses and freshly trimmed capital budgets again a common theme among the major US exploration and production firms.

ConocoPhillips reported the termination of a rig contract for a Gulf of Mexico deepwater drillship, which resulted in aftertax impacts of $246 million. Hess Corp., meanwhile, expects to operate 4 rigs in the Bakken in 2016 compared with an average of 8.5 rigs this year.

Houston-based onshore drilling contractor Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. last week reported that it expects its US rig count in October to average 92, down from 99 in September.

Oil rigs drop in 9th straight week

Oil-directed rigs declined for the 9th consecutive week, losing 16 units to settle at 578, down 1,004 year-over-year and touching their lowest level since June 18, 2010. Since Aug. 28, 97 oil-directed rigs have gone offline.

Land-based rigs dropped 11 units to 738, down 1,124 year-over-year. Rigs engaged in horizontal drilling resumed their decline after posting their first increase last week in 2 months, falling 14 units to 577, down 776 year-over-year. Directional drilling rigs edged down a unit to 86.

Two rigs operating offshore Louisiana went offline, bringing the US offshore total to 32, down 20 year-over-year. Rigs drilling in inland waters edged up a unit to 4.

Edging up a unit to 191, Canada’s rig count increased for a 5th straight week. While most of the recent rise is attributed to oil-directed rigs, which were unchanged this week at 84, the lone unit to come online this week was gas-directed, bringing that total to 107.

Texas drops in 9th straight week

Texas led the losses of the major oil- and gas-producing states with a 7-unit decline to 339, down 562 year-over-year and its lowest total since July 10, 2010. The state’s count has fallen in 9 consecutive weeks, during which time it has lost 47 units.

The Eagle Ford dropped 2 units this week to 75, down 143 year-over-year.

Oklahoma followed closely behind Texas, posting a 6-unit decrease to 84, down 124 year-over-year and its lowest level since Nov. 20, 2009.

Louisiana fell 2 units to 71. North Dakota, Ohio, and West Virginia each edged down a unit to 62, 20, and 16, respectively. North Dakota, now down 118 year-over-year, is at its lowest level since Dec. 18, 2009.

Unchanged from a week ago were Colorado at 30, Wyoming at 26, California at 14, Utah at 5, and Arkansas at 4.

Alaska edged up a unit to 13. Notably in the state this week, ConocoPhillips started oil production from its CD5 drill site in Alpine field, marking the first commercial oil development on Alaska Native lands within the boundaries of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (OGJ Online, Oct. 28, 2015).

Pennsylvania also edged up a unit and now totals 28. New Mexico and Kansas each gained 2 units to respective totals of 42 and 9.

Contact Matt Zborowski at

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