BHI: US drilling rig count gains 11 units to 522

The US drilling rig count jumped 11 units to 522 rigs working during the week ended Sept. 30, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. Seven oil-directed and 4 gas-directed units began operations.

The overall count has now risen in 15 of the last 18 weeks, adding 118 units over that time (OGJ Online, Sept. 23, 2016). Compared with the week ended Dec. 5, 2014, just before the drilling plunge commenced, the count is still down 1,398 units.

Weekly US crude oil production numbers from the US Energy Information Administration continue to seesaw. During the week ended Sept. 23, overall output declined 15,000 b/d to 8.497 million b/d, down about 600,000 b/d year-over-year. Alaska production fell 10,000 b/d last week while Lower 48 output fell 5,000 b/d.

Now with 425 rigs working, the tally of oil-directed units has gained 109 since May 27. Since its peak in BHI data on Oct. 10, 2014, the count is down 1,184 units. Gas-directed rigs now total 96. One rig considered unclassified remains active in the US.

Nine of the units to begin work this week are on land, bringing that count to 497. Rigs engaged in horizontal drilling rose 5 units to 407, up 93 since May 27 and down 965 since their peak on Nov. 21, 2014. Directional drilling rigs gained 2 units to 51.

More Delaware basin drilling

New Mexico led the major oil- and gas-producing states with a 3-unit increase to 30, double its mid-March level. Two rigs started work in Lea County with the other in Eddy County, both of which are part of the Delaware basin, where activity has ramped up during the drilling recovery. Those 3 units boosted the Permian’s tally to 204, up 70 since May 13.

North Dakota and its Williston basin increased 2 units to 30. The seven states recording 1-unit rises were Oklahoma at 68, Louisiana at 41, Pennsylvania at 23, Colorado at 20, West Virginia at 10, Alaska at 7, and Arkansas at 1. The Cana Woodford increased 2 units to 35, the Arkoma Woodford gained a unit to 4, and the Ardmore Woodford lost its only active unit.

Remaining an attractive target for US exploration and production firms, the Oklahoma STACK received some extra attention this week as Austin-based Jones Energy Inc. closed on its deal for acreage in the play (OGJ Online, Sept. 28, 2016). The firm is already active in the Anadarko basin with three horizontal rigs in the Cleveland play, according to analysis from research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

The Marcellus recorded another rise, collecting 2 more units to 32, up 11 since Aug. 12. The DJ-Niobrara edged up a unit to 17. For the first time this year, the Fayetteville has an active rig.

The Texas rig count continued to waffle, dropping 1 unit this week to 244. Up 71 units since May 27, the tally has only increased slightly over the past month. The Eagle Ford declined another unit to 36 while the Granite Wash rose a unit to 10.

Newly active rigs offshore Louisiana and Alaska lifted the overall US offshore tally to 22. Three rigs remain drilling in inland waters.

Canada’s rig count leaped 24 units this week to 162, an increase of 126 units since May 6. Gas-directed rigs were mostly responsible for the upward momentum with a 17-unit rise to 78. Oil-directed rigs comprised the remaining 7 to bring their tally to 84.

Contact Matt Zborowski at

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