Ban on deepwater drilling cuts offshore rig count in half

US drilling activity dropped for the first time in 6 weeks, down 29 rotary rigs to 1,506 still working, Baker Hughes Inc. reported.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, June 4
-- US drilling activity dropped for the first time in 6 weeks, down 29 rotary rigs to 1,506 still working, Baker Hughes Inc. reported. That compares with 887 rigs running during the comparable week in 2009.

The offshore accounted for the bulk of the loss due to the federal moratorium against drilling in more than 500 ft of water or deeper following the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, the rig count in federal waters dropped by 24 with 24 units still working. That includes the loss of 23 rigs in the gulf, with 23 still drilling.

Land operations were down 6 rigs to 1,469 drilling. Inland waters reported the only increase, up 1 rig to 13 making hole.

Of the US rigs still working, 947 were drilling for natural gas, 20 fewer than the previous week. The number drilling for oil declined by 10 to 545. There were 14 rotary rigs unclassified. Horizontal drilling increased by 3 rigs to 798. Directional drilling was unchanged at 226 rigs.

Louisiana suffered the biggest loss, of course, down 22 rigs to 191 still working. Texas lost 10 rigs to 646. Wyoming has 34 rigs drilling, 4 fewer than the previous week. Oklahoma dropped 3 to 113. Colorado and Alaska were down 2 rigs each to 52 and 7, respectively. Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Arkansas were unchanged with respective counts of 81, 67, and 40. California’s count was up by 1 rig to 34. West Virginia increased by 3 to 22. North Dakota registered the biggest gain, up 8 to 113.

Canada’s rotary rig count inched up by just 1 rig to 192 drilling, compared with 101 in the same period last year.

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