US drilling adds 36 rotary rigs this week

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, May 10 -- US drilling activity continued to climb, jumping by 36, to 812 rotary rigs drilling this week, officials at Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, reported Friday.

That's far less than the 1,232 rigs that were working in the US and its waters during the same time last year, when the rig count was still 9 weeks away from its 2001 peak of 1,293.

Canada had 87 rotary rigs working this week, down one from the previous week and also well below the 228 units that were drilling in that country a year ago.

All of the US increase was onshore, with 692 land rigs working this week, up 38 from last week. US rigs actually in the process of drilling offshore were down 2, to 98 in the Gulf of Mexico and 101 total. The number of units working inland waters was unchanged at 19.

This week's increase also was gas-driven, with 669 rigs drilling for natural gas, 29 more than last week. The number of rigs drilling for oil was up 7, to 141. Two rigs remained unclassified. Directional drilling was down 1 rig to 209, while horizontal drilling increased by 6 rigs to 65.

Texas led the increase, up 13 rigs, to 332 working this week. Oklahoma's rig count was up 7, to 91, while New Mexico added 4 rigs to 36. Wyoming and California increased their rig counts by 3 each to 32 and 26, respectively. Louisiana had 152 rotary rigs working, 1 more than last week. Alaska's rig count was unchanged at 11.

ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston, reported 5 more mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico this week, boosting utilization more than 3 points to 63.6%. That's the highest level for those waters since January, with 126 units now contracted out of an available fleet of 198.

The European fleet of mobile offshore rigs increased by 2 this week to 105. The number under contract was unchanged at 91, however, dropping the utilization rate to 86.7% for that market.

The result was a net increase of 3 contracted mobile offshore rigs worldwide this week to 527 out of a total fleet of 656, with global utilization inching up to 80.3%

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