By the OGJ Online Staff
HOUSTON, Dec. 28 -- The US rig count registered a small gain Friday, up 5 with 887 rotary rigs drilling during the final full week of activity for 2001, said officials at Baker Hughes Inc. in Houston.
However, that increase was just another fluctuation in a general downward trend for US drilling over the past 28 weeks. At this time last year, there were 1,114 rotary rigs drilling in the US and its waters.
All of this week's gain was in offshore and inland waters, Hughes officials reported. The number of offshore rigs in the actual process of drilling at some time during the week increased by 11 to 119 in the Gulf of Mexico, pushing the nationwide total to 125. There also were 19 rigs working inland waters, up 2 from the previous week. However, the number of active land rigs was down by 8 to 743.
Of the total rigs working, 748 were drilling for natural gas, up 7 from the previous week. The number drilling for oil was down 3 to 137, while 2 rigs were unclassified.
There were 232 rigs doing directional drilling, an increase of 7. Another 72 were involved in horizontal drilling, an increase of 2.
Louisiana registered the biggest gain, up 15 with 177 rotary rigs active. New Mexico's rig count was up 1 to 39. Texas had 381 rotary rigs drilling, down 3 from the previous week. Alaska's rig count was down 1 to 14. Rig counts were unchanged in Oklahoma at 69, Wyoming at 45, and California at 31.
Canada had 198 rigs making hole, a drop of 94 from the previous week and down from 322 during the same period last year.
The utilization rate among mobile offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico inched up a half point to 58.6% with one more rig under contract in those waters, said officials at ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston. They reported 119 mobile offshore rigs under contract in the gulf out of 203 available.
Utilization was unchanged at 93.1% in European waters, with 95 mobile offshore rigs contracted out of an available fleet of 102. Worldwide utilization also inched up, reflecting the Gulf of Mexico gain.
Global utilization of mobile offshore rigs improved to 80.9% with 528 units under contract this week out of a total fleet of 653.