Offshore rig utilization rose this week, but total US drilling activity is down

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Jan. 25 -- The number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico increased by 6 to 129 this week, ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston, reported Friday.

The number of rigs available for work in the gulf also increased by 1 to 201. The contract increase bumped up the rig utilization rate in those waters more than 3 points to 64.2%, said ODS-Petrodata Group officials.

However, Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, said the total number of US rotary rigs actually in the process of drilling declined by 10 this week to 859, down from 1,116 during the same period a year ago.

The number of active offshore rigs was down 5 to 117 in the Gulf of Mexico and 124 in all US offshore waters. In addition, there were 19 rigs working inland waters, unchanged from last week. Total active land rigs also were down 5 to 716, officials reported.

The latest Baker Hughes weekly US rig count included 714 rigs drilling for natural gas, down 8 from last week. There also were 144 rigs drilling for oil, 2 fewer than the previous week. One rig remained unclassified.

There were 61 rigs drilling horizontal wells this week, down 4. The number of rigs doing directional drilling was unchanged at 232.

Texas led the decline with a rig count down 6 to 374. Louisiana's rig count also declined 5 to 162. New Mexico was down 2 to 39, while California was down 1 to 25 rigs.

Oklahoma had 73 rotary rigs working, 2 more than last week. Wyoming and Alaska were unchanged with rig counts of 48 and 15, respectively.

There were 459 rotary rigs drilling in Canada this week, up 22 from last week but down from 559 at this time last year.

ODS-Petrodata also reported one additional mobile offshore rig under contract in European waters this week. That's a total of 96 under contract for a utilization rate of 92.3%.

Worldwide, there was a net increase of 6 more offshore rigs under contract to 536 this week out of a total fleet of 655, for 81.8% utilization.

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