978 active rigs is highest count since April 2015

U.S. drilling activity continued to rise this week, with rig counts at the highest levels seen since the downturn began, according to Baker Hughes’ Weekly Rig Count.

The total number of rigs in the country increased by three, meaning there are now 978 rigs operating in the U.S. This is the highest overall rig count since early April 2015, when rig counts were falling sharply during the industry downturn.

Land-based activity saw the largest increase this week, as three such rigs came online. One inland waters rig also became active, doubling the number of inland waters rigs currently running. One offshore rig shut down, however, leaving 959 land, two inland waters and 17 offshore rigs active.

Drilling activity shifted slightly in favor of gas this week, with one oil-targeting and two gas-targeting rigs becoming active. Oil-targets account for 81.7% of all U.S. drilling, as there are 799 oil rigs and 179 gas rigs currently drilling.

Horizontal drilling continues to expand, as three such rigs began drilling this week. The 842 horizontal rigs represents the highest horizontal activity level since March 2015. Vertical activity is once again closing in on directional operations, as two directional rigs shut down and two vertical rigs became active. With 69 directional and 67 vertical rigs, the spread between the two trajectories is shrinking. Having more directional rigs than vertical operating is a highly unusual situation, and has only been the case for the past eight months.

Texas, New Mexico see highest increase

Individual states and basins saw only minor changes this week, as shuffling between locations was minimal. Three rigs became active in Texas, as the most popular state saw the largest weekly increase once again. Two rigs also came online in New Mexico, while one became active in Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio and Wyoming. One shut down in Kansas, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, while two shut down in Oklahoma.

The largest increases among basins came in the most popular areas, as two rigs came online in the Cana Woodford and Permian. One rig also began drilling in the DJ-Niobrara, Haynesville, Utica and Williston. The only major basin tracked by Baker that saw a drop in activity was the Marcellus, where two rigs shut down. “Other basins,” those too small to be individually tracked by Baker, saw activity decline by three.

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