Canadian drilling down as 66 rigs idled

A sharp decrease in the number of drilling rigs operating in Canada this week brought the total number of active rigs in North America down to 1,045 from last week's 1,105 despite a small increase in US drilling, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Aug. 9 -- A sharp decrease in the number of drilling rigs operating in Canada this week brought the total number of active rigs in North America down to 1,045 from last week's 1,105 despite a small increase in US drilling, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday. The rig count also compared unfavorably with the healthy 1,568 rigs working in North America during this same period last year

Canadian working rig activity decreased by 66 rigs to 191 from last week's 257 and dropped by 129 from the 320 employed during the same period last year.

US drilling activity, however, continued to improve this week, with 854 rotary rigs working, up 6 from last week's 848 rigs, but still down considerably from the 1,248 rigs active during the same period last year.

Of those rigs working in the US this week, the majority, 726, were drilling for natural gas, down 3 from last week, and 127 were drilling for oil, up 10 from last week.

Texas led, with 339, in the number of active rigs under contract in the US, and in the number of working rigs added since last week, 10. Louisiana also increased, by 6 to 171, the number of rigs under contract this week. Wyoming and New Mexico remained unchanged at 43 each, and Alaska, at 10.

US areas with declining numbers of active rigs this week included the Gulf of Mexico, idling 1 to 110; Oklahoma, idling 8 to 103, and California, releasing 3 to 19 from last week's 22.

The majority of active US rigs, 567 were contracted to drill vertical wells (up 16 from last week), while directional drilling (with 232 rigs) and horizontal drilling (55 rigs) were both down by 5.

With 62 mobile offshore rigs idled in the Gulf of Mexico out of an available fleet of 198, the fleet utilization rate improved to 68.7% this week, compared with 67.7% last week, but it was down from 79.6% a year ago, said officials at ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston.

The utilization rate of rigs in European and Mediterranean waters declined last week by 0.2 percentage point to 83.5%, which was also down from 98.1% during the same period last year.

Worldwide, there were 4 more mobile offshore rigs under contract this week than last week's 533 out of an available 657, bringing the worldwide fleet utilization rate for the week up to 81.7% from 81.1%.

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