Horizontal activity highest since February 2015

Drilling activity rose once again in the U.S. this week, extending the increase seen last week according to Baker Hughes Rig Count.

A net three rigs began drilling in the week, all land-based. These three rigs mean there are a total of 1,056 land, 24 offshore and three inland waters rigs active in the country.

Two oil-targeting rigs came online, while one gas-targeting rig began drilling this week, meaning oil now accounts for 81.7% of all activity. This share is below the level seen in most of the second half of 2018 but is well above the overall historical average. There are currently 885 oil rigs drilling in the U.S., compared to 198 gas rigs.

Drilling continued to shift in favor of horizontal drilling, with five such rigs beginning operations in the week. Directional and vertical activity declined by one each, meaning there are 70 directional, 945 horizontal and 68 vertical rigs active in the country. This is the highest horizontal activity level since February 2015.


Two rigs came online in Alaska, giving the northern state the largest activity increase in the U.S. this week. This is an unusual situation, as Alaska has reported the highest individual state growth in only 11 other weeks since 2000.

Activity also increased in Louisiana, Ohio and Texas, while operations dropped by one in Oklahoma and Wyoming.

The most popular basins saw activity hold flat this week, with only three plays showing changes. The Granite Wash, Haynesville and Utica each added one rig in the week.

The precipitous decline seen in Canadian activity last week continued this week, with 61 rigs going offline. This is in line with expectations, as Canadian activity drops drastically around Christmas. There are now 70 rigs operational in the country. If previous years are a guide, Canadian drilling will rebound nearly as quickly, and will soon exceed the 174 rigs that were drilling two weeks ago.

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