Canadian rig activity spurs North American drilling to year-ago levels

Oil and gas drilling activity continues to increase in North America following the decision by OPEC to cut production.

The number of active rigs in both the U.S. and Canada increased again this week according to information from Baker Hughes Industries, raising the total rig count in North America to 871, the same level that it was this time last year as prices continued to fall lower.

The U.S. saw 13 new rigs added to its fleet in the week ended December 16, 2016, bringing the total to 637 rigs. Twelve of the new rigs were drilling for oil while the remaining one targeted natural gas. The majority of the activity (roughly 41% of total U.S. drilling) continues to be focused on the Permian Basin, which saw 12 additional rigs this week.

Canadian drilling is contributing substantially to the recovery in rig activity, however. Compared to this time last year, the current Canadian rig count is currently 72 rigs, or 44%, higher than it was at this time last year. The Canadian rig count increased by four during the course of the last week, according to Baker Hughes.

The number of rigs running in the U.S. currently stands at 637 – 72 less than this time last year. Of those, 510 are drilling for oil and 126 for natural gas.

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