BHI: US rig count hits lowest level since 1999

The US drilling rig count dropped 7 units to 737 during the week ended Dec. 4, marking its lowest point since Oct. 15, 1999, according to Baker Hughes Inc. data (OGJ Online, Nov. 25, 2015).

The count has fallen in 14 of the last 15 weeks since a short-lived summer rebound, giving up 148 units over that time. Since this week a year ago, 1,183 units have gone offline.

After dropping 10 and 9 units, respectively, in each of the last 2 weeks, oil-directed rigs lost 10 units again to settle at 545. The last time they hit that total was June 4, 2010. They’re now down 1,030 year-over-year.

Gas-directed rigs posted a 3-unit increase to 192.

Land-based units fell for a 15th consecutive week, losing 3 units to 710, down 1,138 year-over-year. Rigs engaged in horizontal drilling were unchanged at 569, down 799 year-over-year. Directional drilling rigs declined 2 units to 64.

A bulk of the country’s declines came offshore, where 5 rigs went offline to settle at 25, its lowest total since Mar. 18, 2011. Six rigs went offline offshore Louisiana, while one went online offshore Texas.

Rigs drillings in inland waters, meanwhile, doubled to 2.

After an 18-unit jump last week, Canada’s rig count fell 7 units this week as well to settle at 177, down 245 year-over-year. Oil-directed rigs declined 4 units to 77 and gas-directed units declined 3 units to 100.

Louisiana leads losses

Thanks to its precipitous offshore drop, Louisiana led the major oil- and gas-producing states with a 4-unit decline overall to 60, down 54 year-over-year and its lowest point since BHI began tracking major states’ rig count data in January 2000.

Texas fell 3 units to 333, down 563 year-over-year and its lowest level since June 19, 2009. The Permian lost 4 units to 217, down 351 year-over-year.

North Dakota dropped 2 units to 60, reflecting a 2-unit drop in the Williston to 60. The state’s total is its lowest since Dec. 11, 2009.

Colorado and Utah each edged down a unit to 27 and 4, respectively. For Colorado, its count is the state’s lowest since Mar. 7, 2003.

Unchanged from a week ago were New Mexico at 40, Pennsylvania at 29, Ohio at 19, West Virginia at 14, Alaska at 12, California at 9, and Arkansas at 4.

Oklahoma and Wyoming each gained 2 units during the week, reaching at respective totals of 84 and 22. The Cana Woodford and Granite Wash each edged up a unit to 35 and 13, respectively.

Contact Matt Zborowski at

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