North American drilling activity continues to fall

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Dec. 21 -- US drilling activity continued to fall with 882 rotary rigs working this week, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

That's 25 fewer than the previous week and down from 1,087 during the same period last year when the rig count was still trending up.

Losses were reported in all categories. The number of land rigs working this week was down 18 to 751; offshore rigs dropped 5 to 114; and the number of active inland water units dipped 2 to 17.

Of the rigs working, 741 were drilling for natural gas, down 16 from the previous week. Another 140 were drilling for oil, down 10, and one was unclassified.

There were 225 rigs doing directional drilling in the US this week, 15 fewer than last week. Those doing horizontal drilling were down 2 to 70.

Louisiana and Oklahoma led the decline. Rig counts in those states were down 8 each to 162 and 69, respectively. There were 384 rigs working in Texas, 2 fewer than the previous week. California was down 1 to 31.

That was partly offset by the increase of 3 units in Wyoming's rig count to 45. New Mexico and Alaska added 1 rig each to 38 and 15, respectively.

There were 292 rotary rigs drilling in Canada this week, an increase of 3 from the previous week but down sharply from 456 last year.

The number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico declined by two this week. The utilization rate in those waters dipped a full point to 58.1% with 118 units contracted out of the 203 available, said officials at ODS-Petrodata Group in Houston.

They reported a similar loss in European waters, where utilization dipped to 93.1%, with 95 mobile offshore rigs under contract out of a fleet of 102.

That resulted in a net loss of three active mobile offshore rigs worldwide. Total offshore utilization was down a half point to 80.7% with 527 units under contract out of a total available fleet of 653.

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