Three more rigs this week bring total up to 981

U.S. drilling activity increased this week, marking four weeks since a decrease in operations, according to the latest edition of Baker Hughes’ Rig Count.

The total number of rigs operating in the U.S. rose by three to 981 this week, the highest rig count since April 2015. Offshore activity decreased in the week, with the number of offshore rigs falling by three. Land-based rigs increased by four, while inland waters activity doubled from two rigs to four. Four inland waters rigs represents the highest activity level for such rigs since mid-September 2017.

Activity shifted slightly toward gas this week, as two gas-targeting rigs and one oil-targeting rig came online. Oil targets now make up 81.5% of U.S. drilling activity, down slightly from the post-downturn peak of 83% in August 2016.

Vertical share of activity at lowest point ever

Vertical activity significantly declined in the past week, as eight such rigs shut down. Directional and horizontal rigs, on the other hand, saw increases, with six directional and five horizontal rigs coming online. There are now a total of 75 directional, 847 horizontal and 59 vertical rigs drilling in the U.S. Vertical operations represent 6% of all activity, the smallest proportion ever, according to Baker.

Alaskan activity nearly double this time last year

Oklahoma saw the largest increase in state rig count this week, rising by three. Two rigs came online in Alaska and Pennsylvania, while one became active in New Mexico and Texas. Only three major states saw decreases in activity this week, with Louisiana, North Dakota and Colorado losing one, tow and three rigs respectively. The increase in Alaskan activity is notable, as the state now has 11 rigs drilling. This is nearly double the number of rigs than were active in the state at this time last year, as only six rigs were drilling in Alaska in early March 2017. The last time Alaska had this many rigs was March 2016, when 12 rigs were operational.

Drilling shifted toward the minor basins this week, as the major basins tracked individually by baker saw a net decrease in activity this week. Only the Marcellus saw an increase in drilling, with two rigs coming online. One rig shut down in the Cana Woodford, DJ-Niobrara and Permian, while two ceased operations in the Williston.

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