US drilling activity falls from 8-month high

US drilling activity dropped this week, with a falloff of land drilling for natural gas, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Sept. 20 -- US drilling activity dropped this week, with a falloff of land drilling for natural gas, officials at Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

The number of rotary rigs working in the US and its waters declined to 852, down 11 units from a week ago when the count was at the highest level since Jan. 18. During this same period a year ago, there were 1,186 US rigs at work.

The decline was all in land operations, down 11 rigs with 717 still drilling. The number of offshore rigs turning to the right was unchanged at 114 in the Gulf of Mexico and 116 for the US as a whole. The number of rigs working inland waters remained at 19.

Canada's weekly rig count increased by 23 to 264, down from 318 last year.

There were 725 US rigs drilling for natural gas this week, 21 fewer than the previous week. Meanwhile, those drilling for oil increased by 10 to 125. Two units remained unclassified. Directional drilling was down 6 rigs to 235, while horizontal drilling operations were unchanged at 58.

Texas led this week's decline, down 5 rotary rigs with 347 still working. California's rig count dropped by 4 to 16. New Mexico was down 2 rigs to 34, while Wyoming lost 1, to 43.
Louisiana had 185 rigs working this week, up 3. Oklahoma's rig count increased by 1 to 96, while Alaska was unchanged at 9.

For the second consecutive week, ODS-Petrodata in Houston reported a net loss of 4 mobile offshore rigs coming off contracts in the Gulf of Mexico, with 123 still contracted. The fleet of rigs available for work in those waters also was reduced by 2 to 193. As a result, the rig utilization rate for the gulf dropped to 63.7% from 65.1% previously.

In European waters, the number of mobile offshore rigs under contract increased by 1 to 88 out of a fleet of 104, for 84.6% utilization. The result worldwide was a net decline of 3 rigs, with 526 still contracted out of a total fleet of 658 at an utilization rate of 79.9%, down from 80.4% previously.

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