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US drilling activity jumps to 14-week high

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Dec. 20 -- US drilling activity surged to a 14-week high, adding 10 rotary rigs for a total of 860 units working, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

That's the highest rig count since topping 863 in mid-September, but still down from 882 a year ago.

There were 5 more land rigs working this week, up to 727 across the US, while inland waters operations increased by 6 rigs to 21. Offshore drilling was down 1 rig to 109 in the Gulf of Mexico and 112 for all of the US.

Canada's rig count jumped by 28 to 410, up from 292 during the same period last year.

There were 719 US rotary rigs drilling for natural gas this week, 8 more than the previous week. Oil drilling increased by 2 rigs to 135. There were 6 active rigs unclassified. There were 221 rigs involved in directional drilling, an addition of 9 from last week. Horizontal drilling increased by 4 to 59 rigs.

Texas and Louisiana led the drilling increase, up 4 each to 372 and 164, respectively. Oklahoma's rig count increased by 3 to 98, and Alaska was up 1 to 10. New Mexico's weekly rig count was unchanged at 50. Wyoming and California were down 3 rigs each to 34 and 19, respectively.

There were 3 fewer mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico this week, dropping the rig utilization rate in those waters nearly 2 points to 71.5%, with 133 units contracted out of the 186 available for work, said ODS-Petrodata officials in Houston.

However, the number of contracted rigs in European waters increased by 2 to 82, or 81.2% of the 101 mobile offshore rigs available.

Worldwide, the number of mobile offshore rigs under contract fell by 8 to 536 this week, out of a total force of 656. That pushed down the global utilization rate more than a point to 81.7%.


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