API: US drilling has second consecutive quarter of growth

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 26 -- US oil and gas drilling increased year-to-year for a second consecutive quarter as the American Petroleum Institute reported that 11,297 wells were completed in the US in the 3 months ended Sept. 30, 45% more than the comparable 2009 period. This followed a 38% year-to-year increase in the second quarter and a 22% decline in 2010’s first 3 months, it indicated.

“Third-quarter exploratory well completions climbed 31% compared with 2009’s third quarter, with natural gas exploratory wells up a whopping 68%,” said Hazem Arafa, director of API’s statistics department. “I think this really demonstrates the oil and gas industry’s continued commitment to finding new energy sources to meet growing US and world demand, as well as the importance of new supply areas, many of which were only opened recently thanks to the industry’s ability to apply innovative techniques to existing technologies.”

Arafa said API estimates showed a resurgence in oil well activity during the third quarter as completions climbed 60% year-to-year to an estimated 5,451 wells. Natural gas had been the primary target for US drilling for most of this decade, Arafa noted, but with the continued growth of oil well completions and a drop in gas well completions this year amid historically low prices, this is no longer the case.

An estimated 4,434 gas wells were completed in 2010’s third quarter, 28% more than the comparable 2009 period, according to API. For the first three quarters of the year, estimated gas well completions dipped 3% from a year earlier to 12,677, while oil well completions rose 21% to an estimated 13,865, it said.

API also reported total estimated footage reached 69.156 million ft in the third quarter, 43% more than in the same 2009 period. Oil well footage surged 81% year-to-year to 32.815 ft, while gas footage gained 17% to 29.255 million ft, it said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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