US drilling activity resumes decline

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Nov. 1 -- After ending a 3-week decline last week, US drilling activity dipped by 2 units this week, with 854 rotary rigs working, down from 1,058 a year ago, Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

The US rig count had rebounded by 13 units during the week ended Oct. 25 (OGJ Online, Oct. 25, 2002).

Land drilling activity fell by 9 rigs, with 718 working this week. Inland-water activity increased by 1 unit to 21. The number of US offshore rigs actually drilling this week increased by 6 to 112 in the Gulf of Mexico and 115 for the country as a whole.

However, ODS-Petrodata in Houston said Friday the number of mobile offshore rigs under contracts in the Gulf of Mexico was down by 2 units to 124 out of an available fleet of 189, triggering a decline in the rig utilization rate to 65.6% in those waters.

Of the total rigs working in the US and its waters this week, the number drilling for natural gas fell by 18 to 692, while those drilling for oil increased by 16 to 158, said Baker Hughes. There were 4 rigs that remained unclassified. Directional drilling was down 1 rig to 219, while horizontal drilling lost 3 to 63.

Subjected to heavy rain and flooding early this week, Texas was down 13 rigs to 345 working. However, New Mexico's rig count jumped by 7 units to 52. California and Alaska added 1 rig each to 22 and 10, respectively. Unchanged were Louisiana with 168 rigs drilling and Wyoming with 43.

Canada had 255 rigs working this week, up 20 from the previous week but down from 281 last year.

The number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in European waters rose by 1 to 85, said ODS-Petrodata, while the fleet of available rigs was down 1 to 102, boosting utilization to 83.3% in those waters.

Worldwide, there was a net gain of 3 mobile offshore rigs under contract this week to 532, while 1 rig was added to the global fleet, boosting it to 657. That increased total utilization of mobile offshore rigs to 81% this week.

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