By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Sept. 19 -- US drilling activity slipped this week, down by 3 rotary rigs to 1,092 still active, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday. There were 852 rigs working in the US and its waters during the same period a year ago.
All of this week's loss was in land operations, down by 3 rigs to 964 drilling. The number of rigs working offshore was unchanged at 107 in the Gulf of Mexico and 110 for the US as a whole. Activity in inland waters also was unchanged, with 18 rigs working.
Continued wet conditions in Canada triggered a 40-rig decline, with 338 units still drilling. That compares with 264 at this time in 2002.
In the US, the number of rigs drilling for natural gas increased by 8 to 936 this week. However, drilling for oil was down by 13 units to 152. There were 4 rigs unclassified this week, officials said. Directional drilling increased by 1 unit to 285. Horizontal drilling decreased by 1 rig to 91.
New Mexico recorded the largest decline of the week, down by 5 rigs with 67 still turning to the right. Texas was down by 3 rigs to 469 working. Oklahoma lost 1, with 139 units still making hole. Rig counts in Wyoming and California increased by 2 units each to 66 and 24, respectively. Louisiana and Alaska were up by 1 rig each to respective counts of 158 and 8.
The number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico dropped by 4 to 125 this week, with the fleet of units available for work down by 1 to 172. That pushed down the rig utilization rate by nearly 2 points to 72.7% in those waters, said officials at ODS-Petrodata, Houston.
The available fleet of mobile offshore rigs in European waters also declined by 1 to 99 this week, while the number of contracted rigs increased by 1 to 81, raising utilization to 81.8%. Worldwide, the end result was a wash, with the number of contracted rigs unchanged at 527 and the total rig fleet still at 654. The global utilization rate among mobile offshore rigs remained unchanged at 80.6%.