US drilling activity dips by 8 rigs to 849

US drilling activity fell again this week, down 8 rotary rigs with 849 still working, officials at Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Oct. 11
US drilling activity fell again this week, down 8 rotary rigs with 849 still working, officials at Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

There were 1,141 rotary rigs working during this same period a year ago, officials said.

This week's decline involved all three main divisions of the contract drilling industry. Land operations were down 5 rigs with 721 drilling, while units working inland waters lost 1 to 16. Offshore drilling was down 2 rigs to 109 in the US Gulf of Mexico and 112 for the US as a whole.

Canada's rig count plunged by 22 to 208, down from 311 rigs working during the same period last year.

In the US, there were 137 rigs drilling for oil this week, 5 fewer than the previous week. Drilling for natural gas was down 3 rigs to 709. There were 3 rigs unclassified. Directional drilling was down 4 rigs to 222; horizontal drilling was down 1 to 65.

Weather in the wake of Hurricane Lili may have been a factor in this week's decline. Texas led the loss, down 7 rigs with 346 working, while Louisiana's rig count declined by 5 to 171. New Mexico lost 4 rigs to 42.

That was partially offset by a 5-rig gain to 44 in Wyoming; Oklahoma's rig count was up 1 to 93. Rig counts in California and Alaska were unchanged at 20 and 8, respectively.

Demand for mobile offshore rigs increased in the US Gulf of Mexico, with 3 more units under contract, up to 126 this week, said officials at ODS-Petrodata, Houston. The fleet of available rigs was down 1 to 192, increasing the rig utilization rate in those waters nearly 2 points to 65.6%.

In European waters, the number of rigs under contract increased by 1 to 87 out of a fleet of 103, boosting rig utilization to 84.5%. Worldwide, the number of contracted rigs increased by 5 to 527, while the total available fleet decreased to 656 as 2 jack ups were retired. That hiked total mobile offshore rig utilization by 1 point to 80.3%.

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