US drilling activity dips slightly on and off shore

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, June 29 -- US drilling activity slipped slightly this week, and utilization of mobile offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico sagged as two more of those units came off contracts, industry officials reported Friday.

There were 1,275 rotary rigs working in the US and its waters, 2 fewer than the previous week but up from 920 during the same period last year, said officials at Baker Hughes Inc.

The number of US rigs drilling for natural gas dipped slightly to 1,056. The number drilling for oil increased slightly to 217, leaving 2 rigs unclassified.

There were 513 rigs drilling in Texas, 5 fewer than the previous week. But Louisiana's rig count increased by 5 to 231. New Mexico had 80 rigs making hole, up 3. Rig counts in Oklahoma and Wyoming both increased by 2 to 157 and 61, respectively.

Baker Hughes reported 322 rotary rigs working in Canada, an increase of 17 for the week but down from 327 a year ago.

The utilization rate among mobile offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico declined by almost a full percentage point to 87.3%, with 185 units under contract this week out of a fleet of 212, said officials at the ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston.

In European waters, the utilization rate was unchanged at 96.1%, with 98 rigs contracted out of the 102 available. Worldwide utilization sagged to 89.7% with a net decline of one contracted rig this week. That left 585 mobile offshore rigs under contract around the globe out of 652 total.

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