By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 7 -- US drilling activity increased slightly during the first week of 2011, up by 6 rotary rigs to 1,700 working, compared with 1,220 at work a year ago, Baker Hughes Inc. reported.
The US rig count exceeded 1,700 units drilling in 4 of the last 5 weeks of 2010, finishing the year with 1,694 working the final week.
Land operations accounted for the bulk of the latest gain, up by 5 units to 1,661 working. Offshore drilling increased by 1 rig to 25, all in the Gulf of Mexico. Inland waters activity was unchanged with 14 rigs drilling.
Of the US rigs working, 914 were drilling for natural gas, 5 fewer than the previous week. The number drilling for oil increased by 12 to 777. There were 9 rotary rigs unclassified. Horizontal drilling increased by 19 to 966. Directional drilling dropped 1 to 211.
Among the major producing states, Oklahoma and Colorado had the biggest increases in their rig counts, up 4 each to 164 and 64, respectively. Texas and Wyoming gained 2 rigs each with respective counts of 733 and 47. North Dakota increased by 1 to 151. Pennsylvania, New Mexico, California, and Arkansas were unchanged at 103, 69, 38, and 37, respectively. West Virginia and Alaska were down 1 rig each to 20 and 5. Louisiana reported the biggest loss, down 8 rigs with 168 still drilling.
Canada’s rotary rig count increased by 176 units to 422 drilling, compared with 342 units working in the same period last year.