Rotary rig count steady at 1,088, up 275 from year ago

Drilling activity continued strong this week with 1,088 rotary rigs working in the US and its waters, Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, reported Friday.

That's two less than last week but up from 813 during the same period a year ago.

Strong demand for natural gas is still the driving factor. Of the rigs working this week, 844 were drilling for gas, up 10 from last week.

There were 404 rigs working in Texas this week, seven less than the previous week. Louisiana had 211 active rigs, down three from a week ago. In other leading states, Oklahoma was up nine at 131, New Mexico up 2 at 67, and Wyoming unchanged at 54.

Canada had 409 rigs working this week, Baker Hughes officials reported. That's the same as last week and up from 397 a year ago.

Offshore Data Services in Houston reported three contracted newly built mobile offshore rigs were added to the world fleet this week.

There were 564 mobile offshore units under contract around the globe this week, a net gain of five out of a total fleet of 647, for an utilization rate of 87.2%. A year ago, worldwide utilization of mobile offshore rigs was 75.6%, with 478 contracted out of a fleet of 632.

The latest count includes 182 mobile rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico, two more than last week, out of an available fleet of 206, for an utilization rate of 88.3%. That's up from 78% utilization a year ago, with 149 rigs contracted out of 191.

In European waters, utilization dipped to 87.1% this week, with 88 units contracted�three less than a week ago�out of a fleet of 101. That compares to 68.9% utilization a year back, with 73 rigs contracted out of 106 in those waters.

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