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Drillbits Drop Like Rain on Permian Basin

Anyone doing the mannequin challenge in the Permian Basin in recent days ran the risk of a drilling rig landing on top of them. Drillers again voted with their bits during the week ending Friday, opting -- as they have previously -- for oil from the Texas side of the Permian Basin.

Eleven rigs came back to the Permian, bringing its active tally to 246, well above the year-ago level of 204. Texas gained 17 rigs overall, while New Mexico added but one, according to the latest numbers from Baker Hughes Inc. The Denver Julesburg-Niobrara formation got some love, too, adding six rigs to end at 24, and Colorado added six rigs to end at 26.

Overall, 27 U.S. land-based rigs came back to play, lifting that tally to 601, which is creeping back to the year-ago level of 684 active. The inland waters and offshore were flat with the previous week, so the net gain for the United States was 27 to end at 624 rigs active, down from 709 a year ago. Twenty-one oil rigs came back along with six natural gas rigs. Five directional, 18 horizontal and four vertical units returned.

After recent gains, the Haynesville held steady at 26 rigs running, one short of a year ago. The Marcellus Shale and Granite Wash each added two rigs, while the Cana Woodford lost two.

Canada slapped on another 30 rigs to end at 230 active, well above its year-ago tally of 174. Overall, the North America count increased by 57 to end at 854, getting close to the year ago level of 883.

Texas well permitting is creeping back to year-ago levels, too. The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) issued 673 original drilling permits in November compared to 687 in November 2015. The November total included 581 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, 10 to re-enter plugged wellbores and 82 for recompletions of existing wellbores. The breakdown of well types for those permits was 145 oil, 38 gas, 449 oil or gas, 36 injection, zero service and five other permits.

In November RRC staff processed 342 oil, 151 gas, 24 injection and one other completions compared to 776 oil, 150 gas, 35 injection and four other completions in November 2015. Total well completions for 2016 year to date are 9,923, which is down from 18,510 recorded during the same period in 2015.

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