US drilling activity continues to climb, up 23 rigs

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Feb. 21 -- US drilling activity continued to increase, up 23 units with 928 rotary rigs working this week, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

That is up from 792 during the same period a year ago when US drilling was spiraling down in an extended slump.

As happened last week, all of this week's gain was in land operations, up 23 rigs to 802 drilling. Offshore drilling was unchanged in the Gulf of Mexico where 105 rotary rigs were drilling, but it increased by 1 to 110 in US coastal waters as a whole. Drilling activity in inland waters dipped by 1 unit to 16.

In Canada, drilling activity increased this week by 9 units with 558 rotary rigs working. That's up from 410 last year.

Among US rigs working this week, drilling for natural gas increased by 15 to 767 rigs. Oil drilling was up 8 units to 157. Four units remained unclassified.

Directional drilling was up by 7 rigs to 242 units this week. Horizontal drilling was unchanged at 54.

Oklahoma led this week's increase, up 11 rigs with 122 working. New Mexico's rig count increased by 10 units to 63, while California was up 3 to 19. Louisiana was up 2 rigs with 156 working, and Alaska was unchanged at 10.

In Texas, drilling activity was down by 5 rigs to 403, while Wyoming lost 1 to 40.

ODS-Petrodata on Friday reported the first increase in 10 weeks in the number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico, up 3 to 113 units contracted out of an available fleet of 184. That increased the utilization rate to 61.4% in those waters.

One mobile offshore rig departed European waters, raising utilization to 83% with 83 units contracted out of 100 available. There was a net gain of 2 rigs under contract worldwide to 519 this week out of a total fleet of 656 for 79.1% utilization.

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