More US rigs drilling for gas this week

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, May 17 -- US drilling activity continued to climb this week with 829 rotary rigs working, officials at Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, reported Friday.

That's 17 more than last week but still far below the 1,225 rigs that were working during the same period a year ago.

The number of land rigs working this week also was up 17, to 709. Units working inland waters were down 2 to 17, while rigs drilling offshore were up by 2 to 100 in the Gulf of Mexico and 103 for the US as a whole.

Canada had 98 rotary rigs working this week, 11 more than last week but also well below the 252 units employed last year.

In the US, there was a surge in drilling for natural gas—up 27 rigs to 696. The number of rigs drilling for oil this week was down 10 to 131. Another 2 rigs remained unclassified. There were 217 rotary rigs involved in directional drilling this week, 8 more than last week. Those doing horizontal drilling were down by 1 to 64.

Oklahoma accounted for the bulk of increased drilling, adding 13 units to its rig count for a weekly total of 104. Wyoming also was up, by 6 to 38. There were 39 rigs working in New Mexico, an increase of 3, and Louisiana's rig count was up 1 to 153.

However, Texas' rig count dropped by 12 to 320. California and Alaska were unchanged for the week, with rig counts of 26 and 11, respectively.

ODS-Petrodata Group reported another mobile offshore rig under contract in the Gulf of Mexico this week, inching the utilization rate up to 64.1% with 127 rigs contracted out of a fleet of 198.

The European market was down 1 in both the number of contracted rigs and the fleet size. That decreased utilization to 86.5% with 90 rigs contracted out of 104.

Worldwide, there was a net decline of 1 contracted mobile offshore rig and a net gain of 1 rig added to the fleet. That put global utilization at 80.1% with 526 units under contract out of a total fleet of 657.

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