Number of drilling rigs increases in the US, drops in Canada

By Phaedra Friend Troy

According to the weekly rig report from oilfield services firm Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), the number of rotary rigs drilling in North America fell by 37 this week.

Although the US saw a slight rise in the number of active wells, Canada saw a major drop in drilling rigs, losing 42 this week to 586 rigs active rigs. Likely spurred by thawing ice, rig counts typically dip this time of the year in Canada because heavy equipment and rigs cannot be transported on slushy roads.

On the other hand, the number of drilling rigs in the US increased by five this week, with the biggest gain in Texas, which added 17 rigs. With activity in the Eagle Ford Shale, Barnett Shale, Haynesville Shale and Permian Basin, the number of rigs currently drilling in Texas is a whopping 754 units – 150 more rigs than Canada.

Major drops in active rigs were seen this week in Oklahoma and Louisiana, which both lost six rigs; and West Virginia, which lost five rigs. Louisiana has also experienced the biggest drop in drilling activity year over year, with 45 less rigs drilling than this time last year.

In addition to Texas, other states with major drilling activity include Louisiana with 168 active drilling rigs, Oklahoma with 159 active rigs, North Dakota with 153 rigs, and Pennsylvania with 103 rigs.

There are currently 25 rigs drilling in the US Gulf of Mexico, just half of the rigs that were actively drilling at this time last year – stymied by the deepwater drilling moratorium, ensuing regulatory changes and delayed permits.

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