US drilling activity shows slight gain for holiday week

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Nov. 27 -- US drilling activity increased slightly this week with 835 rotary rigs working, 9 more than the previous week but still down from 952 during the same period a year ago, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Wednesday.

Land drilling increased by 5 rigs to 708. Offshore operations were up the same number to 107 mobile offshore rigs drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and 110 in US waters as a whole. The only decline was among inland-water rigs, down 1 to 17.

All of the US gain was in drilling for natural gas, with a jump of 16 rigs to 695 working. The number drilling for oil declined by 7 to 135. Five active rigs were unclassified. Directional drilling increased by 3 rigs this week to 218, while horizontal drilling declined by the same number to 56.

Texas led the rebound, up 16 units with 351 rotary rigs working. Louisiana's rig count increased by 10 to 163, while Wyoming was up 1 to 37. Oklahoma and New Mexico were down 7 rigs each to 98 and 47, respectively. Rig counts were unchanged at 22 in California and 8 in Alaska.

Canadian drilling activity jumped, up 42 rigs with 329 working this week, surpassing 257 a year ago.

Despite the increased number of rigs actually drilling this week, the number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico was down 1 to 130 out of the 186 units available for work in those waters, said officials at ODS-Petrodata, Houston. That triggered a dip in gulf utilization to 69.9%.

The number of rigs under contract in European waters declined by 1 to 83 out of a fleet of 102, for an utilization rate of 81.4%. Worldwide, there was a net decline of 2 rigs, leaving 540 contracted out of a total fleet of 656 mobile offshore rigs, or 82.3% utilization.

The two rig tallies were released early this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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