Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
September 2020

Vol. 25, No.37 Week of September 13, 2020

US drilling rig count gains 2, reaches 256

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

The Baker Hughes U.S. rotary rig count was at 256 the week ending Sept. 4, up by two from the previous week, continuing a slow gain from Aug. 14 when the count reached a low for the year of 244. The count was down 642 from a year ago when it stood at 898.

At the beginning of the year the count was in the low 790s, where it remained through mid-March, when it began to drop, reaching a new historic low in early May of 374 rigs and continuing to drop through the third week of August when it gained back 10 rigs.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes has issued a weekly rig count for the U.S. since 1944. Prior to this year, the low was 404 rigs in May 2016.

This week’s count includes 181 rigs targeting oil, up by one from the previous week and down 557 from a year ago, 72 rigs targeting gas, unchanged from the previous week and down 88 from a year ago and three miscellaneous rigs, up one from the previous week and up three from a year ago.

Twenty of the holes were directional, 220 were horizontal and 16 were vertical.

Alaska count unchanged

The rig count in Louisiana (37) was up by three from the previous week and the count in New Mexico (47) was up by one.

North Dakota (9) and Texas (106) were each down by one rig.

Counts in all other states remained unchanged from the previous week: Alaska (3), California (4), Colorado (5), Ohio (5), Oklahoma (11), Pennsylvania (18), West Virginia (8) and Wyoming (1).

Baker Hughes shows Alaska with three active rigs Sept. 4, unchanged from the previous week and down by five from a year ago.

The rig count in the nation’s most active basin, the Permian (125), unchanged from the previous week.

Baker Hughes has issued weekly rig counts for the U.S. and Canada since 1944 and began issuing international rig counts in 1975.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. The new low, 244, was set the week ending Aug. 14; the previous low was 404 rigs in May 2016.

International count up by four

Baker Hughes’ monthly international rig count, released Sept. 4, was up by four to 747 from August, with land rigs up three to 563 and offshore rigs up one to 184. The international rig count excludes U.S. and Canadian rig activity.

The international rig count is down 391 from last year’s count of 1,138, the company said, with land rigs down 331 and offshore rigs down 60.

The largest month-over-month change was in the Middle East (301), down 14 rigs from August. All other areas were up month over month: Asia Pacific (200) by seven, Africa (62) by six, Europe (109) by four and Latin America (75) by one.

The U.S. count averaged 250 in August, down by five from July, while Canada, averaging 53 rigs, was up by 21. Overall, North America averaged 303 rigs in August, up 16 from July.

Worldwide there were 1,050 rigs active, up 20 from August, but down from 2,206 in August 2019.

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