Daily GPI / Infrastructure

Eight NatGas Rigs Added in U.S. as Rebound Continues

The U.S. rig count continued to bounce back for the week ended Friday, and this time it was natural gas-directed drilling leading the way, according to data by Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI).

The United States added eight total rigs -- all natural gas-directed -- to end the week at 915 active rigs versus 588 running a year ago. That makes two consecutive weeks the domestic rig count has increased, partially reversing an extended period of retrenchment going back to the summer. After reaching 958 active rigs on July 28, the U.S. count fell to a recent low of 898 on Nov. 3.

The week's gains included an increase of three Gulf of Mexico rigs to go with five added in the onshore. Two directional units were added, as were six vertical. Canada added five rigs -- one oil-directed and four gas-directed -- to end the week at 208

The combined North American rig count now stands at 1,123, up 13 week/week and up 351 year/year.

Among plays, the biggest gains came in the Permian Basin -- up five rigs to end the week at 391 -- and in the Haynesville Shale, which added two rigs to finish at 40 (up from 23 a year ago). Also part of the week's gas-heavy gains, the Utica Shale added a rig for the week to end at 30, versus 19 in the year-ago period.

The Cana Woodford in Oklahoma netted one rig for the week, with NGI’s Shale Daily breakdown showing one rig added in the SCOOP (aka, South Central Oklahoma Oil Province) and one rig exiting the STACK (aka, the Sooner Trend of the Anadarko Basin, mostly in Canadian and Kingfisher counties). The SCOOP ended the week at 27 rigs (from 40 a year ago), with the STACK at 44 rigs (from 26 a year ago), the BHI data show.

The Denver Julesburg-Niobrara and Williston Basin each dropped a rig week/week to end at 25 and 47, respectively.

Among states, Texas (up seven) and Louisiana (up four) were the big gainers for the week. Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming each saw a decline of one rig week/week.

U.S. land operations contract driller Helmerich & Payne Inc. (H&P), which reported its fiscal 2017 earnings recently, said it saw higher revenues driven by a year/year increase in domestic onshore activity. The company’s contracted U.S. onshore rig count climbed from fiscal 2016 to 197 from 102, and H&P claimed 37 more U.S. land customers than it had a year ago.

"Fiscal 2017 witnessed the largest ramp up of U.S. land rig activity in the company’s history, which more than doubled even in the face of oil price uncertainty and volatility," said CEO John Lindsay. "We began the year with 95 rigs running in U.S. land and closed the year with 197 rigs after reactivating 102 FlexRigs while upgrading 91 of those to super-spec capacity."

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