US drilling activity falls from 23-year high

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Sept. 6 -- US drilling activity dropped from a 23-year high, down by 18 rotary rigs this week with 2,013 still working, said Baker Hughes Inc. That compares with a rig count of 1,814 during the same period a year ago.

Land operations accounted for the bulk of the decline, down by 19 rigs to 1,919 drilling. Activity in inland waters declined by 1 rig to 22. Offshore drilling increased, however, up 2 to 67 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and 72 in US waters overall.

Of the rigs working this week, 416 were drilling for oil, the same number as the previous week. However, drilling for natural gas dropped by 20 rigs to 1,586 this week. There were 11 rigs unclassified. Directional drilling increased by 3 rigs to 391. Horizontal drilling was down 2 to 624.

Texas had the biggest loss among the major producing states, down 20 rigs to 938 working. New Mexico dropped 5 to 92. California was down 1 to 50. Arkansas and Louisiana were unchanged at 59 and 182, respectively. Wyoming, North Dakota, and Alaska added 1 rig each for respective totals of 77, 75, and 10. Colorado's rig count increased by 3 rigs to 119. And Oklahoma gained 4 rigs for a count, with 219 drilling.

Canada's weekly rig count was down 18 to 418, compared with 335 active rigs in the same period of 2007.

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