BHI: Eagle Ford rally contributes to seventh straight US rig count rise

The Baker Hughes Inc. tally of active rigs in the US gained 2 units to 756 during the week ended Mar. 3., representing a seventh straight week of increases as drilling activity continues to ramp up throughout Texas.

The Baker Hughes Inc. tally of active rigs in the US gained 2 units to 756 during the week ended Mar. 3., representing a seventh straight week of increases as drilling activity continues to ramp up throughout Texas.

The count is up 352 units since May 27, 2016, the nadir of the drilling downturn that began in late 2014. More than 80% of the new rigs to come online have been targeting oil.

Up until this week, all but a few of the major US exploration and production firms had reported operational plans for 2017, which indicated drilling will continue to increase throughout the year in the major onshore producing regions (OGJ Online, Feb. 24, 2017).

The remaining few who published plans this week will likely contribute to the upward trend. In the Permian, where numerous operators have expanded their positions over the past year, RSP Permian Inc. intends to operate 8 rigs by the fourth quarter. The firm in mid-January deployed a fourth operated rig on its Midland basin properties and plans to continue operating at that level for the balance of the year.

RSP is operating 1 unit on its Delaware basin properties and will have a second working after completion of its acquisition of Silver Hill E&P II LLC (OGJ Online, Oct. 14, 2017). The firm anticipates adding a third operated rig on its Delaware properties after improving infrastructure to enable more efficient horizontal development, as well as a fourth rig during the fourth quarter.

Bill Barrett Corp. is operating 1 unit in NE Wattenberg field of the DJ basin and plans to add another rig to accelerate development during the second quarter. The firm plans to drill 70-75 gross XRL wells in the field during the year.

Oil, horizontal drilling trends up

US oil-directed rigs, also up in 7 straight weeks, rose 7 units to 609, an increase of 293 since May 27. Gas-directed rigs dropped 5 units to 146, still up 65 units since Aug. 26. One rigs considered unclassified remains operational.

After reemerging above the 9 million-b/d mark in the previous week, US crude oil production gained 31,000 b/d during the week ended Feb. 24 to 9.032 million b/d, according to US Energy Information data. The Lower 48 contributed 32,000 b/d while Alaska shed 1,000 b/d.

Onshore rigs edged up a unit to 739, with 9 horizontal rigs staring work to total 633 and 8 directional rigs halting work to total 61. Horizontal rigs are up 319 units since May 27.

One rig started drilling offshore Louisiana, bringing the overall US offshore tally to 18. Four rigs remain drilling in inland waters.

Canada’s rig count fell 6 units to 335, still up 299 units since May 6, 2016. Oil-directed units declined 9 units to 197 while gas-directed rigs rose 3 units to 138.

Eagle Ford resurgence

The rig counts in Texas and its Eagle Ford each increased for the seventh straight weak as well, while the Permian rose for the 14th straight week.

Texas gained 6 units to 392, up 219 since May 27. The Eagle Ford led the major US producing regions this week with a 5-unit jump to 69, up 40 since May 27. The Permian rose 2 units to 308, up 174 since May 13.

Elsewhere in Texas, the Granite Wash edged up a unit to 13 while to Barnett lost a unit to 4. The Haynesville, which encompasses East Texas and North Louisiana, dropped a unit to 34, still up 21 since Sept. 30.

North Dakota and its Williston each added 3 units to reach respective totals of 37 and 38. The Williston is up 16 units since May 27. Louisiana gained 2 units to 51. Utah rose a unit to 7.

New Mexico, Colorado, and Alaska each decreased a unit to 47, 25, and 6, respectively. The DJ-Niobrara was down 1 to 20. Pennsylvania and Wyoming fell 2 units to 32 and 17, respectively. The Marcellus edged down a unit to 41, still up 20 since Aug. 12. The Utica also declined a unit and now totals 20.

Oklahoma dropped 3 units to 98. The recently hot Cana Woodford decreased a unit to 50 while the Arkoma Woodford gained a unit to 6.

Contact Matt Zborowski at matthewz@ogjonline.com.

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