Baker Hughes: US rig count declines for second time in 4 weeks

July 21, 2017
US rig count growth appears to be slowing.

US rig count growth appears to be slowing.

Data from Baker Hughes show a 2-unit decline in the overall US rig count for the week ended July 21. The tally has now fallen in 2 of the last 4 weeks after recording 23 consecutive increases (OGJ Online, July 14, 2017).

At 950 rigs working, the count is still up 546 units since the beginning of a drilling rebound that began following a nadir on May 20-27, 2016.

All eyes remain on oil-directed rigs, which edged down 1 unit this week to 764, up 448 units since May 27, 2016. They too have fallen twice in the last 4 weeks, increasing just 6 units during that time. During the 4 weeks prior, the oil count climbed 36 units.

Gas-directed rigs also edged down 1 unit and now total 186, up 105 units since Aug. 26, 2016.

Onshore rigs fell by 4 as rigs drilling horizontally posted their first drop in 36 weeks, losing 1 unit to 803, up 489 units since May 27, 2016. Directional drilling rigs rose 3 units to 75.

The offshore count increased for the first time in 9 weeks, rising 2 units to 23.

The US Energy Information Administration’s preliminary estimate of US crude production for the week ended July 14 shows a 32,000-b/d increase to 9.43 million b/d, up 935,000 b/d year-over-year. The Lower 48 added 30,000 b/d while Alaska rose 2,000 b/d.

EIA this week forecast crude production from the seven major onshore producing regions in August to gain 113,000 b/d month-over-month to 5.585 million b/d (OGJ Online, July 17, 2017). About 94% of the monthly increase is expected to come from the Permian, Eagle Ford, and Niobrara.

Among the factors taken into consideration when making the projections, EIA examines the regions’ total number of active rigs and drilling productivity. In June, the seven regions gained 154 drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells to total 6,031, the agency said.

The Permian’s DUC well count climbed by 130 to 2,244, and the Eagle Ford’s count rose by 42 to 1,406.

Texas, Oklahoma lead losses

Texas and Oklahoma led the major oil- and gas-producing states with 3-unit losses to 463 and 131, respectively. Drilling growth in Texas has slowed over the last 9 weeks, during which time it has added just 5 units. During the 9 weeks prior, it added 63 units.

The Eagle Ford dropped 2 units this week to 78, its lowest level since April. The Barnett dropped 1 unit to 6. The Permian, meanwhile, edged up 1 unit to 374. The basin has added 13 units over the last 9 weeks compared with 53 during the 9 weeks prior.

The Arkoma Woodford and Mississippian each dropped 1 unit to 9 and 5, respectively.

New Mexico dropped 2 units to 57. Alaska lost 1 unit to 5.

North Dakota and Utah each rose 1 unit to respective counts of 54 and 10. California gained 2 units to 13. Partly bolstered by offshore rig deployments, Louisiana climbed 4 units to 71.

Accounting for the movement in its home state, the Williston increased 1 unit to 54. The DJ-Niobrara also added 1 unit and now totals 30. The Haynesville, which stretches from North Louisiana into East Texas, rose 2 units to 45, up 32 units since Sept. 30, 2016.

Canada’s seasonal drilling ascent continued this week as 15 rigs started work to bring the country’s count to 206, an increase of 126 since May 12. Oil-directed rigs jumped by 12 to 118, while gas-directed rigs rose by 3 to 88.

Contact Matt Zborowski at [email protected].