By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 30—US drilling activity registered a small increase with 847 rotary rigs working this week, 9 more than the previous week, but down from 1,252 a year ago, said officials at Baker Hughes Inc.
Land drilling for natural gas accounted for that gain. The number of active land rigs increased by 9 to 732, while offshore rigs were unchanged at 107 in the Gulf of Mexico and 109 for all of the US. The number of rigs working inland waters was unchanged at 16.
There were 721 US rotary rigs drilling for natural gas this week, 8 more than previously. The number drilling for oil was unchanged at 124. However, 2 rigs remained unclassified this week, up from 1 last week.
Canada had 265 rotary rigs working this week, 23 more than the previous week but down from 328 a year ago.
Among US rigs, directional drilling was unchanged with 227 active rigs this week, but horizontal drilling increased by 4 rigs to 58.
Louisiana accounted for most of the US increase, up 7 rigs with 170 drilling this week. Oklahoma and New Mexico added 4 rigs each, with weekly counts of 107 and 41, respectively. California's rig count was up 1 to 19, while Alaska's was unchanged at 9. The Texas rig count dropped by 6 to 328 this week. Wyoming was down 4 rigs to 40.
ODS Petrodata Group, Houston, reported the utilization of mobile offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico was unchanged at 66%, with 130 units contracted out of the 197 available.
In European waters, utilization slipped to 82.9% with 87 mobile offshore rigs contracted—1 less than last week—and 105 units available, up 1 from previously. Worldwide, however, utilization of mobile offshore rigs improved slightly to 80.9% with 532 units contracted, a net gain of 3 for the week. The total available fleet also increased by 1 to 658.