Permian operators activate 3 more rigs

Drilling activity increased in the U.S. this week, more than reversing the decline seen over the past two weeks according to Baker Hughes’ Rig Count.

A total of fifteen rigs came online this week, the largest single-week increase since last May. Thirteen of these rigs are land-based, while two are offshore. There are now 919 land, one inland waters and 19 offshore rigs drilling in the U.S., for a total of 939. This is the highest activity level in four months, as companies respond to the recent increase in oil price.

Most new rigs are drilling for oil, as ten oil-targeting rigs and five gas-targeting rigs came online in the week. Oil-targeting rigs now make up 80.1% of all activity in the U.S.

Directional continues to outnumber vertical

Most new rigs are drilling directional wells, as eight such rigs began activities in the week. Seven horizontal rigs also started operations, while vertical rigs held flat. There are now 72 directional, 805 horizontal and 62 vertical rigs active in the country. Directional rigs continue to outnumber vertical rigs, as they have since July. This is the first time in the history of the industry that directional rigs have outnumbered vertical rigs for an extended period of time.

New rigs were concentrated in two states, Louisiana and New Mexico, as each state saw rig counts increase by five this week. Three rigs also came online in Oklahoma, two in Colorado and one in Alaska and Utah. Texas, by far the most popular state in the U.S., saw rig counts decrease by two.

Most of the new activity is operating in minor basins, erasing the decline seen last week. A total of nine rigs came online in the week. Three rigs started operations in the Permian, while one came online in the Arkoma Woodford, DJ-Niobrara, Haynesville and Mississippian. One rig shut down in the Barnett, the only basin to see declines this week.

Canadian activity jumped significantly this week, as 102 rigs came online. This represents a jump of nearly 60% in a single week, as rigs in Canada rose from 174 to 276. This continues the winter trend usually seen in Canada, where rig count drops sharply in the last week of the year, and then rises equally sharply in early January. If Canadian activity continues on schedule, rig counts should rise again next week, though not nearly as sharply as this week.

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