Offshore rig utilization slides to 13-month low in Gulf of Mexico

Total US drilling declined slightly, but the utilization rate among mobile offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico dropped for the sixth consecutive week to a 13-month low, industry analysts reported Friday. The utilization rate fell to 83%.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 27 -- Total US drilling declined slightly, but the utilization rate among mobile offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico dropped for the sixth consecutive week to a 13-month low, industry analysts reported Friday.

ODS-Petrodata Group, Houston, reported 2 more offshore rigs came off contracts in the gulf this week, pushing down the fleet utilization rate a full point to 83%, with 176 units contracted out of the 212 available. The gulf utilization rate has not been so low since June 2, 2000, officials said.

The number of rigs under contract in European waters also increased by 2 to 100 this week, boosting utilization a full point to 97.1% in those waters where 103 units are available for work.

Meanwhile, the global fleet of mobile offshore rigs increased by 1 with the reactivation of a previously retired drillship, said ODS-Petrodata officials. The result was a net decrease of 2 mobile offshore rigs this week, reducing worldwide utilization to 88.4% with 577 units now contracted out of 653 total.

There were 1,266 rotary rigs drilling in the US and its waters this week, 12 fewer than the previous week, but up from 975 during the same period a year ago, said officials at Baker Hughes Inc.

Canada's rig count plummeted to 287, down 56 from the previous week and down from 319 a year ago.

The drop in US activity was among land rigs and inland waters. Baker Hughes said the number of offshore rigs actually in the process of drilling in the Gulf increased by 2 to 155.

Of the total US rigs working, 1,050 were drilling for natural gas, down 8 from the previous week. Another 214 were drilling for oil, 4 fewer than the previous week; 2 were unclassified.

Texas showed the biggest US loss, down 7 rotary rigs to 501 this week. New Mexico's rig count was down 5 to 78. Louisiana and Wyoming were unchanged for the week at 227 and 64 respectively. Oklahoma's rig count was up 4 at 155.

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