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U.S. NatGas Rig Count at Lowest on Record

The U.S. rig count fell again in the report released by Baker Hughes Inc. on Wednesday (Dec. 23), two days earlier than usual to accommodate the Christmas holiday.

The United states lost three oil-directed rigs and six natural gas units for a total decline of nine, all of them leaving onshore operations. Three directional rigs left, and the week also saw the departure of five horizontal units and one vertical.

Last week’s 17-unit decline in the gas rig count to 168 (see Daily GPI, Dec. 18) brought it to its lowest level ever since 1987, when the Baker Hughes data began, said analysts at Jefferies Equity Research in a note Tuesday. This week’s decline takes it lower still, down to 162.

North Dakota and Wyoming each lost three rigs, making them the biggest losers among states. The Williston Basin saw three rigs depart, but six were added in the Permian.

The U.S. rig count landed at 700 for the week, down from 1,840 one year ago.

To the north, it's the time of the season for Canadian drillers to pack it in. Canada lost a total of 36 rigs, with 27 oil and nine natural gas units departing. The Canadian count ended at 126 for the week, down from 256 one year ago.

Overall, the North American rig count ended at 826, down from 2,096 one year ago. Over the last 12 months, Texas, the biggest loser, has said goodbye to 533 rigs, with the Permian losing the most among plays, giving up 324 as of the latest count.

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