US drilling activity rebounds to 1,117 rotary rigs working

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Feb. 6 -- US drilling activity rebounded with 1,117 rotary rigs working this week, up by 33 from the previous week and surpassing 884 during the same period a year ago, said officials Friday at Baker Hughes Inc.

The gain was spread across all three drilling categories, with land operations accounting for the most, up 24 rigs to 997 working this week. Inland waters activity increased by 5 rigs to 20. Offshore drilling was up by 4 rigs to 99 operating in the Gulf of Mexico and 100 in US waters overall.

However, ODS-Petrodata Consulting & Research, Houston, said Friday that demand for mobile offshore drilling units fell for the second consecutive week, down by 4 to 113 contracted out of an available fleet of 163. That dropped the utilization rate by more than 2 points to 69.3% in those waters.

The total number of rotary rigs working in Canada fell by 33 to 552 this week, up from 548 a year ago.

Among US rigs, those drilling for natural gas increased by 30 to 968 this week. Those drilling for oil were up by 2 to 144. There were 5 active rotary rigs unclassified. Directional drilling increased by 24 rigs to 292. Horizontal drilling was up by 1 unit to 95.

Texas registered the biggest gain this week, up by 24 rigs to 486 working. Louisiana increased by 16 rigs to 166, and California added 3 rigs for a total of 20 working. Alaska was unchanged with 10 rigs making hole.

Drilling activity in Wyoming declined by 2 rigs to 64 this week. Oklahoma and New Mexico were down by 1 rig each to 147 and 61, respectively.

In European waters, the number of mobile offshore rigs under contract increased by 2 to 79 out of a fleet of 96, for 82.3% utilization, said ODS-Petrodata officials. Worldwide, there was a net decrease of 1 mobile offshore rig under contract to 523 out of the total 654 available, dipping total utilization to 80%.

Meanwhile, Baker Hughes officials said Friday that the international rig count averaged 802 rotary rigs working during January, 1 less than the previous month and up from 734 active in January 2003. The number of rotary rigs working in international offshore markets averaged 227 during January, down by 20 from December 2003 but up from 213 in January 2003.

Baker Hughes officials also reported 1,182 active workover rigs in the US during January, from 1,162 in December and 989 in January 2003. In Canada, they said, 767 workover rigs were working in January, up from 304 in December and 489 in January 2003.

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