Overall rig count falls by two

By Richard Rostad, analyst, Oil & Gas 360

International drilling activity declined slightly in January, but remains near post-downturn highs, according to Baker Hughes.

A net two rigs came offline in January, bringing the international total to 1,023 rigs. Operations shifted significantly in favor of offshore drilling, as nine land-based rigs have shut down while seven offshore rigs came online in the month. This continues the shift seen last month, the overall international offshore rig count has jumped by 35 since November. Offshore rigs now account for 24% of activity, a share not seen since mid-2016.

International Drilling Continues Near Post-Downturn Highs

Source: EnerCom Analytics

No European country saw rig count increases

Activity declined in Europe as continental rig counts fell by nine. Activity dropped sharply in Norway, where five rigs shut down, while two came offline in Turkey and one stopped drilling in the Netherlands and Greece. No European saw rig counts increase this month, an unusual situation. At least one European country has added rigs in each month since at least 2012.

Latin American activity declined by three in the month, driven by seven rigs shutting down in Mexico. Slight declines were also seen in Argentina and Ecuador, which each saw one rig come offline. One rig began drilling in Bolivia and Brazil, while four started activities in Colombia. Venezuelan rig counts held flat at 27, a positive situation for a highly unstable country. Rig counts have been virtually flat since May, bouncing between 25 and 28 active rigs.

Activity increased slightly in both Africa and Asia Pacific, with rig counts rising by one in each region. Rig counts fell sharply in Algeria, where six rigs shut down, while three other countries in Africa each saw moderate increases. The pattern was reversed in Asia Pacific, as offshore Chinese activity surged by six rigs while five other countries showed small declines in rig count.

The Middle East saw the only large regional increase, with nine net rigs coming online. Five rigs started drilling in Kuwait and four started drilling in Qatar. Smaller increases in activity were seen in Abu Dhabi and Pakistan, which added two and one rig respectively. Saudi Arabia saw two rigs shut down, while one shut down in Egypt and Bahrain.

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