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Gulf of Mexico rig utilization drops for seventh week

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Sept. 28 -- For the seventh consecutive week, utilization fell among mobile offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as US drilling activity declined, industry analysts said Friday.

ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston, reported a net decline of 2 rigs under contract in gulf waters this week, dropping the fleet utilization rate to 65.6% with 137 rigs contracted out of 209 total.

There were 1,168 rotary rigs working in the US and its waters this week, said officials at Baker Hughes Inc., Houston. That's 18 less than last week but still up from 1,015 during the same period a year ago.

Most of the loss was on land where the number of rigs drilling this week dropped by 14 to 1,005. Baker Hughes reported 140 rotary rigs working in offshore waters, down 4 from the previous week. That included 135 drilling in the gulf, 2 less than last week. The number of rigs working inland waters was unchanged at 23.

Among the rigs working, 953 were drilling for gas, 9 less than last week. The number drilling for oil was down 8 to 215. There were none unclassified this week, compared with 1 last week.

There were 289 rigs drilling directional wells, up 1 and 82 doing horizontal drilling, down 4.

Texas led the general decline, down 10 rigs to 457. New Mexico had the next biggest loss, minus 4 to 65. Oklahoma and California each were down 2 rigs to 125 and 37, respectively. Louisiana and Wyoming remained unchanged, with respective rig counts of 211 and 64.

There were 304 rotary rigs drilling in Canada this week, 14 less than last week and down from 355 a year ago, said Baker Hughes officials.

ODS-Petrodata reported activity was unchanged in European waters, where 97 mobile offshore rigs are contracted out of a fleet 102 for 95.1% utilization.

A new semisubmersible rig started work for Petrobras offshore Brazil this week, boosting the global fleet of mobile offshore rigs to 653. The number of rigs under contract was down 2 to 541, lowering worldwide utilization by half a point to 82.8%.

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