BHI: US rig count climbs by 16 ahead of holiday week

Undeterred by the upcoming holiday week, the US rig count recorded yet another double-digit weekly increase.  

Baker Hughes Inc.’s tally of active rigs during the week ended Dec. 23 jumped by 16 to 653, its highest total since the first full week of 2016 (OGJ Online, Dec. 16, 2016). The count has risen by more than 10 units in 8 of the past 13 weeks, accelerating a drilling rebound that began after May 27 when the count stood at a nadir of 404. Since then, 249 more rigs have started operations.

Oil-directed rigs continued their surge during the week with a 13-unit rise to 523, up 207 since May 27. Gas-directed rigs gained 3 units to 13, an increase of 48 since Aug. 26. One rig considered unclassified remains operating.

Thirteen of the units to come online this week were on land, bringing that tally to 627. Rigs drilling horizontally increased 14 units to 526, up 212 since May 27. Directional drilling rigs gained 4 units to 58.

Rising 3 units to 25, offshore rigs experienced their most active week since late August and early September when precautions were taken in the Gulf of Mexico amid the threat of Tropical Storm and Hurricane Hermine. One rig remains drilling in inland waters.

Canada’s rig count, meanwhile, fell 10 units to 224 this week after jumping 60 units over the previous 3 weeks. Its count is still up 188 units since May 6. Oil-directed rigs dropped 10 units to 106 while gas-directed rigs decreased by 3 to 113. Three rigs considered unclassified started work, bringing that count to 5.

Oklahoma, Woodford lead way  

In a departure from the usual Texas-led weekly increases, Oklahoma took the largest share of freshly running rigs this week, gaining 6 units to 84, up 30 since June 24. The Cana Woodford rose 2 units to 36 while the Ardmore Woodford gained its only active rig.

Texas maintained its recent upward pace with a 4-unit rise to 321, up 148 since May 27. The Permian also was up 4 and now totals 262, an increase of 128 since May 13.

During a week in which President Obama closed more acreage off Alaska’s coast to oil and gas activity, Alaska posted a 3-unit jump including 1 offshore unit to tally 9 overall.

Up a unit each, Louisiana now totals 48, New Mexico 33, North Dakota and Pennsylvania each with 32, Colorado 28, and Ohio and Wyoming each with 19. Facilitating that movement, the Williston, DJ-Niobrara, and Utica each increased a unit to 32, 25, and 20, respectively.

Arkansas’ count halved to 1. West Virginia dropped 2 units to 8. The Marcellus edged down a unit to 39.

Contact Matt Zborowski at

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