Four GOM rigs come online

Drilling activity continued to rise this week, after surpassing a major milestone last week, according to the latest edition of Baker Hughes Rig Count.

Five rigs began operations this week, bringing the total number of operational rigs to 1,008. Unusually, while both onshore and offshore activity grew, this week offshore rigs saw a larger increase than onshore. Four offshore rigs came online, while only one land-based rig began operations.

Both land and offshore rigs grew, but offshore growth outnumbering that of onshore is a very rare occurrence, and has only happened two other times since 2010.

There are now 988 land-based rigs, four inland waters and 16 offshore rigs drilling in the country.

Gulf of Mexico Rig Count Hurdles Onshore—U.S. Offshore Rigs Jump 33%

Source: EnerCom Analytics

Operations continued to shift in favor of oil drilling, as seven oil-based rigs came online. Two gas rigs shut down during the week, meaning oil now accounts for 80.9% of all operations in the U.S. A total of 815 oil, 192 gas and one miscellaneous rigs are operating.

Activity also favored directional drilling this week, with seven such rigs beginning operations. Meanwhile, horizontal and vertical drillers saw one rig shut down. With 70 directional rigs and 55 vertical, American operations have returned to a situation that was virtually unheard of before 2017, vertical drilling is the least popular trajectory. Of course, horizontal drilling still dominates activity levels, with 883 rigs, or 87.6% of all operations.

All four new offshore rigs are in Louisiana, but due to a decrease in onshore activity the state only saw a net increase in rig count of one. The state with the largest increase in rig count, once again, was Texas, where three rigs came online. Two more began operations in Oklahoma, while one began drilling in Colorado and Ohio. One shut down in Kansas, New Mexico and West Virginia.

Changes among basins were relatively spread out, with no single play seeing a significant increase in activity. Two rigs came online in the Cana Woodford and Eagle Ford, while one began drilling in the Arkoma Woodford, Permian and Utica. One rig shut down in the Marcellus.


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