US rig count climbs for third consecutive week

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Apr. 26 -- In what may becoming a trend, the US rig count climbed for the third consecutive week, with an increase in drilling for natural gas, officials at Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, reported Friday.

There were 766 rotary rigs working in the US and its waters this week, up 17 from last week, but well below the 1,212 units that were drilling during the same period last year without a falloff in activity.

Canada had 84 rotary rigs working this week, down 12 from the previous week, compared with 188 a year ago.

The number of active US land rigs increased by 15 to 645 this week. The number of units working in inland waters also was up 2 to 19. Those rigs actually drilling offshore were unchanged at 102.

Of the total rigs working in the US, 634 were drilling for natural gas, up 21 from last week. Another 130 rigs were drilling for oil, down 2. The remaining two rigs were unclassified.

Units involved in directional drilling increased by 6 to 210. Horizontal drilling also increased by 2 rigs to 58.

Texas led the rebound, up 8 rigs to 315. Oklahoma had 81 rigs working this week, up 6. Rig counts in Louisiana and New Mexico increased by 2 each to 148 and 36, respectively. Alaska's rig count was unchanged at 11, while Wyoming and California were down 1 rig each to 29 and 22, respectively.

ODS-Petrodata Services, Houston, reported 2 additional mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico this week, boosting utilization to 62.8% with 125 units contracted out of the 199 available.

The utilization rate in European waters also inched up slightly to 89.3% with 92 rigs—1 more than last week—contracted out of a fleet of 103, which also had increased by 1.

A net gain of 9 contracts worldwide boosted total utilization among mobile offshore rigs to a 2-month high of 80.8%, with 529 units contracted out of a total 655 available, officials said.

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