US drilling activity increases for fourth consecutive week

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, May 3 -- US drilling activity continued inching up for the fourth consecutive week, with 776 rotary rigs working, officials at Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, reported Friday.

That's 10 more than the previous week but well below the 1,217 that were drilling during the same period a year ago.

The number of active land rigs was up 9 to 654 this week. The number of rigs drilling offshore increased by 1 to 100 in the Gulf of Mexico and 103 in US waters as a whole. Another 19 units were working in US inland waters, unchanged from the previous week.

Canada had 88 rotary rigs working this week, 4 more than the previous week but down from 210 last year.

Among US rigs, 640 were drilling for natural gas this week, 6 more than the previous week. Another 134 were drilling for oil, an increase of 4. Two more rigs were unclassified.

The number of rigs involved in directional drilling was unchanged this week at 210. Those doing horizontal drilling increased by 1 to 59.

Texas led the increase, up 4 rigs to 319. Rig counts in Louisiana and Oklahoma increased by 3 rigs each to 151 and 84 respectively. California added 1 rig, to 23. Wyoming and Alaska were unchanged, with respective rig counts of 29 and 11.

Among the major producing states, only New Mexico registered a drop in its rig count this week, down 4 to 32.

Despite the uptick in the number of offshore units in the process of drilling this week, ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston, said the number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico fell by 4 to 121. The number of available rigs in the gulf also was down 1 to 198, with the utilization rate dropping to 61.1% in those waters.

One more rig came off contract in European waters, dipping utilization to 88.3% with 91 rigs contracted out of a fleet of 103 units in those waters.

The result was a net decline of 5 mobile offshore rigs under contract worldwide, down to 524 out of a total fleet of 655, for 80% utilization.

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