Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
February 2024

Vol. 29, No.6 Week of February 11, 2024

Baker Hughes US rig count drops 2 to 619

New Mexico and Texas each down a single rig; other states unchanged month over month; international count for January averages 965

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

The Baker Hughes' U.S. rotary drilling rig count was 619 for the week ending Feb. 2, down by two rigs from 621 the previous week, and down by 140 from 759 a year ago. The rig count decreased in five of the last eight weeks, with a loss of 11 rigs against a gain of four rigs over the period, continuing a downward trend dominant since the beginning of May.

A drop of 17 to 731 on May 12, 2023, was the steepest weekly drop since June of 2020, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the count also dropped by 17 to 284 on June 5, following drops as steep as 73 rigs in one week in April. The count continued down to 251 at the end of July 2020 before beginning a slow climb upward.

As 2023 reached its end, the count hovered in the 620s for more than a month with the Dec. 29 count of 622 down from a high of 775 on Jan. 13, 2023. The high for 2022 was 784 rigs at the beginning of December.

When the count dropped to 244 in mid-August 2020, it was the lowest the domestic rotary rig count had been since the Houston based oilfield services company began issuing weekly U.S. numbers in 1944.

Prior to 2020, the low was 404 rigs in May 2016. The count peaked at 4,530 in 1981.

The count was in the low 790s at the beginning of 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, where it remained through mid-March of that year when it began to fall, dropping below what had been the historic low in early May with a count of 374 and continuing to drop through the third week of August 2020 when it gained back 10 rigs.

The Feb. 2 count includes 499 rigs targeting oil, unchanged from the previous week and down 100 from 599 a year ago, with 117 rigs targeting natural gas, down two from the previous week and down 41 from 158 a year ago, and three miscellaneous rigs, unchanged from the previous week and up one from a year ago.

Forty-nine of the rigs reported Feb. 2 were drilling directional wells, 558 were drilling horizontal wells and 12 were drilling vertical wells.

Alaska rig count unchanged

There were no week-over-week rig count increases for the week ending Feb. 2.

New Mexico (98) and Texas (303) were each down by a single rig.

Rig counts in other states were unchanged from the previous week: Alaska (10), California (5), Colorado (16), Kansas (2), Louisiana (42), New Mexico (98), North Dakota (32), Ohio (13), Oklahoma (42), Pennsylvania (21), Utah (13), West Virginia (8) and Wyoming (11).

Baker Hughes shows Alaska with 10 rotary rigs active Feb. 2, unchanged from the previous week and up by three from a year ago when the count was seven. Nine of the Alaska rigs were onshore, unchanged from the previous week, with one rig working offshore, also unchanged from the previous week.

The rig count in the Permian, the most active basin in the country, was up by one from the previous week at 311 and down by 43 from 354 a year ago.

International count up by 10 rigs

Baker Hughes' monthly international rig count for January, issued Feb. 2, is up by 10 from December at 965, with land rigs up five to 740 and the offshore count at 225 also up by five. Compared to the January 2023 count of 901, the January 2024 international count is up by 64, with land rigs up by 65 and offshore rigs down by one.

Baker Hughes began providing a monthly international rig count in 1975. The international count excludes North America, which is included in the company's worldwide figures.

The Middle East accounted for the most rigs in the international totals for January, 348, followed by Asia Pacific with 214, Latin America with 170, Europe with 122 and Africa with 111.

The U.S. rig count averaged 621 in January, down by two from December, and down 151 from January 2023, while the Canadian count for January averaged 198, up 37 rigs from December and down by 28 from January 2023.

Worldwide the rig count was 1,784 in January, up 45 from 1,739 in December and down 115 from 1,899 in January 2023.

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