BHI: US rig count up 17, surpasses 700 mark

Story corrected on Jan. 30 to show an 18-unit increase in the rig count, and not 17 as originally stated.

The US drilling rig count increased by 18 during the week ended Jan. 27 to 712 active units, according to data collected by Baker Hughes Inc. The overall rise continues to reflect a resurgence in units targeting crude oil, drilling horizontally, and based in the Permian basin.

The overall count has climbed 308 units since the drilling rebound began after the week ended May 27, when it bottomed at 404 rigs working. The latest double-digit gain follows last week’s 35-unit jump, the largest since Aug. 12, 2011 (OGJ Online, Jan. 20, 2017).

US exploration and production firms are expected to continue to increase drilling throughout 2017, even outside the white hot Permian.

Among them, Continental Resources Inc. this week said during the year it plans to operate an average of 20 units, up 1 from its 2016 average. The firm expects to complete a total of 178 net operated wells with first production in 2017.

In Oklahoma, the firm plans to operate 16 drilling rigs, of which 11 will be in Sooner Trend Anadarko basin Canadian and Kingfisher counties (STACK) play targeting the Meramec and Woodford formations, and 5 in the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP).

Continental plans to maintain 4 operated rigs in the Bakken and drill 57 net operated wells, with 8 net completed in 2017 with first production.

Earlier this month, Hess Corp. said it plans to increase its Bakken rig count to 6 from 2 by yearend, and Antero Resources Corp. said it will operate 4 rigs in the Marcellus and 3 in the Utica.

Onshore oil boom proceeds 

The tally of US oil-directed rigs added 15 units this week and now totals 566, an increase of 250 since the week ended May 27. Gas-directed rigs rose 3 units to 145, up 64 since Aug. 26. One rig considered unclassified remains working.

Onshore rigs jumped 19 units to 689, driven by a 20-unit climb in horizontal rigs to 579, up 265 since May 27. Directional drilling rigs edged up a unit to 61.

Three rigs halted operations offshore Louisiana, shrinking the overall US offshore count to 21. The tally of rigs drilling in inland waters went from 0 to 2 this week.

Texas and the Permian basin continued to represent the largest regional gains. The Lone Star State rose 9 units to 351, up 178 since May 27. The Permian jumped 10 units to 291, up 157 since May 13. New Mexico, also home to the Permian, tallied 4 units to 42, up 29 since Mar. 18.

The Eagle Ford continued its rebound with its biggest increase since Oct. 24, 2014, adding 5 units to now total 54, a 25-unit rise since May 27. The Granite Wash rose a unit to 10.

Oklahoma gained 5 units to 96, up 42 since June 24. The Cana Woodford climbed 3 units to 49 and the Arkoma Woodford took 1 unit to tally 5. Despite the offshore losses, Louisiana increased 2 units to 53. The Haynesville also rose 2 units and now totals 31, up 18 since Sept. 30.

North Dakota edged up a unit to 36, up 14 since May 27. The Williston, home of the Bakken, gained 2 units to 37, up 15 since May 27. Alaska also collected a unit, bringing its count to 9.

Arkansas lost its only rig this week while West Virginia dropped a unit to 8. The Marcellus decreased 1 to 39. Colorado and the DJ-Niobrara fell 3 units to 25 and 20, respectively.

Canada’s recent rig-count spike took a modest turn during the week with a 3-unit rise to 345 after adding 185 units in the previous 3 weeks combined. The count is now up 309 units since May 6. Oil-directed rigs gained 7 units to 200. Gas-directed rigs declined 4 units to 145.   

Contact Matt Zborowski at

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