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Louisiana, Offshore Lead Weekly Rig Gains

In a flip from the previous week's rig count, the latest tally from Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) showed offshore rigs making a comeback, gaining eight units, while the land rig category added just three for a total gain of 11 rigs to 508 active in the United States. Louisiana led the states among gainers, and it's about time.

The Pelican State saw the return of eight rigs to end the week at 43 active, up from 35. That's still down 30 rigs from a year ago when the total was 73. But Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association will likely take what he can get.

"As of September 2016, Louisiana lost more than 20,000 oil industry workers as the number of active rigs in the state declined more than 70% to a historic low of just 35 rigs," Briggs said in a column published just before Friday's rig count release. In it, he noted that some have compared the latest downturn to the "crash of 1986."

Recovery will come, eventually, Briggs wrote.

"There's no question the industry has changed over the last 10 years with the advent of the oil and natural gas shale plays," Briggs wrote. "Our state is blessed with the Haynesville Shale in North Louisiana, and many geologists believe South Louisiana is home to many other 'great rocks' as well."

Reviewing its monthly data, BHI said the average U.S. rig count for August was 481, up 32 from the 449 rigs counted in July but down 402 from the year-ago tally of 883. The average Canadian rig count was 129, up 35 from the 94 tallied in July but down 77 from the year-ago total of 206.

For the week ending Sept. 9, Canada saw the departure of three rigs, bringing its tally to 134 and the North American tally to 642, representing a net gain of eight for the week. Three Canadian oil rigs departed, joined by one gas rig and offset by the return of one miscellaneous unit.

In the United States, oil rigs gained seven units while gas rigs added four. Six directional units came back, along with one horizontal and four vertical rigs.

Louisiana left all the other states in the dust with its gain of eight rigs; Texas came in second, adding four units to end the week at 245.

During the previous week, 14 U.S. land rigs came back, but seven offshore rigs left the game (see Daily GPISept. 2).

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