BHI: US rig count up 5 in short holiday week

The overall US drilling rig count increased by 5 to 593 during a week ended Nov. 23 that was shortened by the Thanksgiving Day holiday, according to Baker Hughes Inc. data.

The latest movement comes after last week’s 20-unit jump, the largest since April 2014 (OGJ Online, Nov. 18, 2016). Up in 22 the past 26 weeks, the count has added 189 units since bottoming at 404 on May 27.

Oil-directed rigs gained 3 units this week to 474, an increase of 158 since May 27. Gas-directed rigs rose 2 units to 118, up 35 since Aug. 26 due in part to a resurgent Marcellus shale. One rig considered unclassified remains operating.

All 5 of the units to come online are land-based, horizontal rigs, bringing those tallies to 568 and 475, respectively. The horizontal count is now up 161 since May 27.

Despite a 1 unit loss this week to 228, the Permian has been the primary catalyst for the US drilling rebound since last spring.

Drilling rigs, drilled but uncompleted wells, and anticipated barrels of production continue to mount in the basin, where one operator in particular has undertaken a large expansion of its acreage position over the past year.

Midland-based Concho Resources Inc. said it now plans to run 8 rigs in the northern Delaware basin during 2017 following its agreed upon acquisition of 16,400 net acres in the region announced this week (OGJ Online, Nov. 21, 2016). The new rig count for the area will double the firm’s 2016 average.  

In its third-quarter earnings report published prior to the latest acquisition agreement, the firm said it intended to allocate 35% of its total 2017 drilling capital to the northern Delaware, accounting for 7 rigs working (OGJ Online, Nov. 14, 2016).

Spreading its presence around the basin, Concho since January has also acquired acreage in the southern Delaware and Midland basins.

The Permian is up 94 units since May 13.

Pennsylvania, Marcellus lead gains

Helping advance the gas-drilling rebound, Pennsylvania led the major oil- and gas-producing states with a 4-unit rise this week to 29, an increase of 16 since July 8. The Marcellus also gained 4 units and now totals 38, up 17 since Aug. 12.

Texas tallied 3 more units to bring its count to 279, up 106 since May 27. Colorado and the DJ-Niobrara each rose 2 units to 22 and 20, respectively. Elsewhere, the Mississippian increased a unit to 4.

North Dakota and its Williston basin each dropped a unit to 33. New Mexico lost 2 units to 29. Wyoming decreased 3 units to 13. The Cana Woodford relinquished 2 units to 38.

US offshore rigs and those drilling in inland waters remain at respective totals of 23 and 2.

Canada ended 4 straight weeks of gains with a 10-unit drop this week to 174, still 138 units more compared with its May 6 total. Both oil-directed and gas-directed rigs dropped 6 units, settling at to 94 and 78, respectively. The country’s only 2 active rigs considered unclassified started work this week.

Contact Matt Zborowski at

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