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Rig Census Approaching, Surpassing Year-Ago Levels in Multiple Plays, States

The North American rig count as of Friday was back where it was one year ago: 871, according to Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI). Some U.S. plays and states have surpassed year-ago levels as drillers make their way back to the patch, mostly in pursuit of oil.

Overall, 13 U.S. land-based rigs returned to play (12 oil and one natural gas). Thirteen also was the net gain for the United States overall as there were no changes offshore. Three directional rigs returned along with nine horizontals and one vertical unit.

Canada added four rigs to end at 234 running, up from 162 a year ago. Overall, the North American count by BHI increased by 17 to end at 871 rigs running -- which is exactly where it was a year ago.

Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah each have more -- just a few -- rigs running than they did one year ago. Wyoming, with 18 rigs running is nearing its year-ago level of 20. And Texas, at 317, is drawing close to the 320 rigs that were running a year ago.

The Denver-Julesburg Niobrara (24 rigs running) and Granite Wash (14) are right where they were this time last year.

The Marcellus Shale, with 40 rigs active, is close to the 41 it had a year ago. The Utica Shale is up three from one year ago at 19 active. And with the addition of one rig in the most recent week, the Haynesville Shale is up one from a year ago with 27 rigs running.

Of course, the oil-rich Permian has well surpassed its year-ago tally. It ended the week with 258 rigs running, well above its year-ago tally of 206.

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