BHI: US rig count records sixth double-digit rise of past 8 weeks

The US drilling rig count climbed 12 units to 768 during the week ended Mar. 10, according to Baker Hughes Inc. data.

The US drilling rig count climbed 12 units to 768 during the week ended Mar. 10, according to Baker Hughes Inc. data.

The count has now risen in 8 straight weeks, 6 of which have been double-digit increases (OGJ Online, Mar. 3, 2017). Since May 27, 2016, the final week of an extended drilling downturn, the count has added 364 units.

US oil-directed rigs, which represent more than 80% of the rigs to have come online since May 27, gained 8 units this week to 617, an increase of 301 units since May 27. Gas-directed rigs rose 5 units to 151, up 70 since Aug. 26 in their own rally. The country’s only unclassified rig stopped operations.

Onshore rigs tallied 9 units to 743 as horizontal drilling rigs increased 6 units to 639, up 325 units since May 27. The offshore slump was somewhat eased by a 2-unit rise to 20. The count of rigs drilling in inland waters rose a unit to 5.

Among the major US operators contributing to the overall drilling rebound, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. this week reported 2017 plans reflecting its sharpened focus on the Permian Delaware and DJ basins after divesting several natural gas-weighted assets last year.

The firm plans to average 10-14 operated drilling rigs in the Delaware during the year and drill more than 150 operated midlateral-equivalent wells. In the DJ basin, Anadarko plans to average 5-6 operated rigs and drill 290 midlateral-equivalent wells.

The continued ramp up in rig deployment by operators in the Permian and other major oil regions has contributed to further upward revisions in forecast US crude oil production. The US Energy Information Administration this week lifted its US crude output forecast for 2017 by 200,000 b/d to 9.2 million b/d (OGJ Online, Mar. 7, 2017).

EIA explained that, in addition to an expectation of a more-rapid increase in drilling and completion activity, particularly in the Permian basin, the higher projection reflects improvements to forecasting methodology for rig efficiencies

During the week ended Mar. 3, meanwhile, US crude production gained 56,000 b/d to 9.088 million b/d, with 46,000 b/d coming from the Lower 48 and the remaining 10,000 b/d from Alaska, EIA said.

Louisiana, DJ-Niobrara lead gains

A rare quiet week in Texas compared with other weeks during the drilling rebound allowed Louisiana and Colorado’s and Wyoming’s DJ-Niobrara to lead the way in activity increases. In part reflecting the offshore gains, Louisiana rose 5 units to 56.

Oklahoma and Colorado each increased 3 units to 101 and 28, respectively. Oklahoma is up 47 units since June 24, and Colorado is up 13 units since May 13. The Cana Woodford edged down a unit to 49. The DJ-Niobrara jumped 4 units to 24, double its count from June 24.

Ohio and the Utica each gained 2 units to 21 and 22, respectively. Wyoming also rose 2 units to 22. California posted its first increased since last September, edging up a unit to 7.

While Texas’s count was stagnant at 392, the Permian still edged up a unit to 309, an increase of 175 units since May 13. The Permian has risen in 15 straight weeks. The Granite Wash, meanwhile, fell 2 units to 11, and the recently red hot Eagle Ford edged down a unit to 68, still up 39 units since June 3.

The Haynesville, which encompasses parts of North Louisiana and East Texas, climbed 2 units to 36, up 23 units since Sept. 30.

New Mexico dropped a unit to 46. In Alaska, where it was reported this week that 2 exploration wells drilled by Repsol SA and Armstrong Energy LLC have extended the Nanushuk play on the North Slope, the rig count halved to 3, the state’s lowest point since Apr. 26, 2013.

Canada’s rig count dropped 20 units this week to 315, still up 279 units since May 6, 2016. Oil-directed rigs dived 17 units to 180, and gas-directed rigs fell 3 units to 135.

Contact Matt Zborowski at matthewz@ogjonline.com.

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