Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
March 2023

Vol. 28, No.12 Week of March 19, 2023

US rotary drill rig count down 3 to 746

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

The Baker Hughes’ U.S. rotary drilling rig count was down by three for the week ending March 9 to 746, and up 83 from a count of 663 for the same period a year ago. The count has dropped for four weeks in a row, and for six of the past eight weeks, down from 771 rigs Jan. 20 after reaching a high for 2022 of 784 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, 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 March 9 count includes 590 rigs targeting oil, down two from the previous week and up 63 from 527 a year ago, with 153 rigs targeting natural gas, down one from the previous week and up 18 from 136 a year ago, and three miscellaneous rigs, unchanged from the previous week and up by two from a year ago.

Forty-two of the rigs reported March 9 were drilling directional wells, 692 were drilling horizontal wells and 12 were drilling vertical wells.

Alaska rig count up by 3

Alaska (10) was up by three rigs from the previous week.

West Virginia (14) was up by two rigs week over week and Colorado (18) was up by a single rig.

Louisiana (59), New Mexico (103) and Pennsylvania (22) were each down by three rigs.

Rig counts in other states were unchanged from the previous week: California (2), North Dakota (41), Ohio (14), Oklahoma (61), Texas (366), Utah (11) and Wyoming (20).

Baker Hughes shows Alaska with 10 rotary rigs active March 9, up by three from the previous week and up by two from a year ago, when the state’s rig count stood at eight. All 10 of the Alaska rigs were onshore, an increase of three from the previous week. There were no offshore rigs active in the state.

The rig count in the Permian, the most active basin in the country, was down by six from the previous week at 343 and up by 27 from 316 a year ago.

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