Five declines in a row

By Richard Rostad, analyst, Oil & Gas 360

Drilling activity in the U.S. continues to reel from the Q4 oil price decline, based on the most recent edition of Baker Hughes Weekly Rig Count.

A net ten rigs shut down this week, meaning a total of 35 rigs have shut down in five straight weeks of declining activity. There are now 1,016 rigs drilling in the U.S., even with last April’s activity level.

Land Rig Count Drops Below 1,000

Land-based rigs have dropped below 1,000 again, as eight shut down this week leaving 993 active. Inland waters activity held steady in the week, while two offshore rigs came offline.

Oil-targeting rigs accounted for most of the decline this week, as nine stopped drilling while only one gas-targeting rig shut down. This is roughly proportional, as there are 824 oil-targeting rigs, compared to only 192 gas rigs in the country.

All trajectories saw declining activity, with two directional, seven horizontal and one vertical rig coming offline. Despite the drop in activity, horizontal rigs gained market share in the U.S., rising from 88.4% to 88.6% of all drilling.

Like most other recent weeks, the most popular states have seen the largest declines in state-specific rig counts. Four rigs shut down in Texas, three in Louisiana, and two in New Mexico and Oklahoma, meaning the top four states all saw drilling slow. One rig also shut down in Alaska and West Virginia. Only three states saw increased activity, with North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania each adding one rig.

Permian slides farther – down 25 rigs since late January

Activity in the Permian continued to slide, with five rigs shutting down this week. The country’s most popular basin has not seen drilling activity rise in two months, with rig counts declining by 25 since late January. One rig also shut down in the Arkoma Woodford, Cana Woodford and Haynesville, while one started drilling in the Utica and Williston.

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