By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 16 -- US drilling activity dropped by 20 rotary rigs, with 1,463 working this week, up from 1,234 at this time a year ago, Baker Hughes Inc. reported Dec. 16.
US drilling peaked this year during the week ended Nov. 4 with 1,496 rigs making hole. That tied a nearly 20-year record set in mid-February 1986 when the rig count had dropped by 98 units to 1,496, headed to a low of 663 later that year. The lowest rig count in 2005 was 1,339 during the first week of the year.
Land operations accounted for most of this week's decline, down by 19 rigs with 1,368 working. Offshore drilling was unchanged in the Gulf of Mexico with 70 mobile rotary rigs at work, but it was down by 1 unit to 74 in US waters as a whole. Inland waters activity was unchanged with 74 rigs working.
Among the major producing states, Texas posted the biggest loss this week, down by 15 to 652 rigs at work. Colorado lost 7 to 80. California and Alaska were down 1 each to 31 and 10, respectively. However, Louisiana and New Mexico were up by 5 rigs each to 167 and 95, respectively. Wyoming's rig count increased by 3 to 93, and Oklahoma was up by 1 to 153.
Canada's weekly rig count fell by 30 units to 649 rotary rigs active. That was up from 524 during the same period last year.