One land, one offshore rig comes offline

Drilling activity declined slightly this week, the fifth week of minor changes in Baker Hughes’ Weekly Rig Count.

Two rigs shut down, bringing the total number of active rigs to 929. Land and offshore rigs each decreased by one, so there are now 909, 2 and 18 land, inland waters and offshore rigs currently drilling, respectively. While activity deceased slightly this week, drilling is much more extensive than at this point last year. The final week of 2016 saw 658 active rigs, meaning activity is up 41% year over year.

The oil-targeting rig count was unchanged for the second week in a row, at 747 rigs. Two gas-targeting rigs shut down, leaving 182 operational.

Operations shifted away from horizontal drilling, as five horizontal rigs shut down. Two directional and one vertical rig began operations, meaning there are now 796 horizontal, 68 directional and 65 vertical rigs operating. Directional and vertical activity is nearly even again, after directional operations pulled ahead for the first sustained period ever in July.

The major basins and states tracked by Baker saw only minor changes this week. One rig came online in Colorado, Ohio and Virginia, while one shut down in Utah and two came offline in Texas and North Dakota. The Virginia rig is the first drilling operations in the state since late 2014, when a rig drilled for four weeks.


The most popular basins in the U.S., the Permian, Cana Woodford and Eagle Ford, saw no change in rig count this week. The DJ-Niobrara added three rigs, while one came online in the Utica. One rig shut down in the Haynesville, and two came offline in the Williston. The Marcellus is pulling ahead of the Haynesville once again, after falling behind the Louisiana play in the beginning of the month.

Canadian drillers seem to take Christmas off

Activity dropped sharply in Canada, in a drastic but predictable decrease. A total of 74 rigs shut down in the country, more than one-third of the total number active last week. There are now 136 rigs drilling in Canada.

The Canadian rig count is far more volatile than the U.S. rig count, but primarily in predictable ways. This week’s activity decrease is wholly expected, for example. Since 2007, the last week of the year has always seen a sharp decrease in drilling activity. An average of 32% of active rigs shut down in the final week of December, so a drop of 35% this year is not surprising.

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