US drilling dips, but Gulf of Mexico rig utilization unchanged

Total US drilling activity declined this week, but the number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico remained unchanged, industry officials reported Friday.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, June 8 -- Total US drilling activity declined this week, but the number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico remained unchanged, industry officials reported Friday.

There were 1,264 rotary rigs working in the US and its waters, 6 fewer than the previous week but up from 840 during the same period last year, said officials at Baker Hughes Inc., Houston.

Texas accounted for most of this week's decline, down 3 rigs to 504. Oklahoma's rig count also was down 1 to 157, while New Mexico was unchanged at 77.

The number of rigs working in Louisiana increased by 5 to 228, however, and Wyoming was up two to 60.

The number of US rigs drilling for natural gas increased to 1,051 this week. There were 212 rigs drilling for oil, and one was unclassified.

Canada had 275 rotary rigs working this week. That's 16 fewer than the previous week and down from 311 at the same time a year ago.

The ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston, said utilization among mobile offshore rigs in the US sector of the Gulf of Mexico remained unchanged at 88%, with 189 units contracted out of the 213 available.

However, they reported 1 more unit went to work in European waters, boosting utilization to 96.1%, with 98 rigs under contract out of the 102 marketed there.

Worldwide, there was a net gain of 3 mobile offshore rigs under contract, putting global utilization at 90% with 586 of those units contracted out of a total fleet of 651.

Earlier this month, James C. Day, chairman and CEO of Noble Drilling Corp., said, "The positive fundamentals for the offshore drilling sector remain intact. There have been recent reports of weakness in Gulf of Mexico jack up day rates. However, at this juncture, the market for drilling services remains quite firm."

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