US drilling activity falls from 9-month high

US drilling activity dropped from a 9-month high this week, down 18 rotary rigs with 857 still working, Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Oct. 4 -- US drilling activity dropped from a 9-month high this week, down 18 rotary rigs with 857 still working, Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday. That's down from 1,141 active rigs during the same period a year ago.

Land operations took the full brunt of this week's fall, down 19 rigs with 726 active. There were 17 units working inland waters, 1 more than the previous week. Offshore activity was unchanged with 111 rigs drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and 114 in US waters as a whole.

The number of rigs drilling for oil jumped by 11 to 142. However, gas drilling plunged by 29 rigs to 712. Three rigs were unclassified. Directional drilling was down 6 rigs to 226 this week, while horizontal drilling increased by 2 to 66 rigs.

Weather may have been a factor. Storm-lashed Louisiana was down 10 rigs with 176 still working. However, Wyoming dropped 5 rigs, with 39 working. Texas and Oklahoma were down 4 rigs each to 353 and 92 respectively. Meanwhile, New Mexico's rig count increased by 3 to 46, and California was up 1 to 20. Alaska was unchanged with 8 rigs working.

Canada had 230 rotary rigs working this week, 7 fewer than the previous week and down from 316 a year ago.

ODS-Petrodata, Houston, reported utilization of offshore mobile rigs in the Gulf of Mexico was unchanged at 63.7%, with 123 units contracted out of an available fleet of 193.

However, the number of offshore rigs under contract in European waters was down 1 to 86 out of a fleet of 103, for an utilization rate of 83.5%. Worldwide, there was a net decrease of 3 contracted rigs to 522 out of a total fleet of 658. Global utilization of mobile offshore rigs dipped to 79.3%.

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