Decline of land gas drilling still pulls down US rig count

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Feb. 15 -- The continued downward spiral of land drilling activity dragged down the weekly US rig count, Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, reported Friday.

Total 815 rotary rigs were working in the US and its waters this week. That's 23 less than the previous week and down drastically from the 1,147 rigs that were drilling during the same period a year ago, officials said.

The number of land rigs working was down 29 to 665. Another 20 units were drilling inland waters, one less than previously. However, the number of offshore rigs making hole increased by 7 to 123 in the Gulf of Mexico and 130 for all US waters.

Those rigs drilling for natural gas were down 25 to 668 this week, while the number drilling for oil inched up 2 to 146.

Of the rigs still working, 243 were involved in directional drilling, 8 more than the previous week. Those doing horizontal drilling were down 3 to 54.

Texas led the retreat, down 22 rigs to 338. California's rig count was down 6 to 20, while Oklahoma dropped 3 to 70.

Louisiana had 169 rigs working, 5 more than the previous week, and New Mexico's rig count was up 1 to 39. Wyoming and Alaska were unchanged at 46 and 16, respectively.

Canada had 428 rotary rigs working this week, 11 fewer than the previous week and down from 550 a year ago.

ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston, reported a net increase of four mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico this week. That bumped up the utilization rate 2 points to 62.5% in those waters, with 125 units contracted out of the 200 available for work.

However, there was a net decline of three mobile offshore rigs among those contracted for jobs in European waters. That dropped utilization 2.9 points to 87.4% in those waters with 90 rigs contracted out of 103.

Worldwide, the utilization rate among mobile offshore rigs remained unchanged at 81.1% with 531 units under contracts out of a total fleet of 655.

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