US drilling activity slips for second week

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Dec. -- US drilling activity declined for the second consecutive week with 1,109 rotary rigs working, 2 less than the previous week but up from 850 at this time a year ago, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

The decline was most evident in land operations, down by 3 units to 986 drilling. Offshore drilling declined by 1 rig to 101 in the Gulf of Mexico and 105 in US waters as a whole. That was offset by increased operations in inland waters, up by 2 rigs to 18 active.

Canada's rig count increased by 20 to 485 this week, up from 382 a year ago.

In the US, the number of rigs drilling for oil decreased by 5 to 148 this week. But those drilling for natural gas increased by 3 to 959. There were 2 rigs unclassified. Directional drilling increased by 1 rig to 274, and horizontal drilling expanded by 2 units to 98.

New Mexico and California led this week's decline, down by 3 units each to respective rig counts of 65 and 22. Texas had 473 rotary rigs working this week, 2 less than the previous week. Alaska's rig count was unchanged at 13.

Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming added 2 rigs each, increasing their respective counts to 161, 143, and 62.

The number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico was unchanged at 123 out of a fleet of 162, or 75.9% utilization, said officials Friday at ODS-Petrodata Consulting & Research, Houston.

In European waters, however, offshore rig utilization increased for the second consecutive week, as 3 more rigs received contract for a total of 78. The fleet size also increased by 1 unit to 97, pushing up utilization to 80.4%.

Worldwide, there was a net gain of 3 contracted rigs to 532 out of a total fleet of 656, inching up offshore rig utilization to 81.1%, officials said.

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