U.S. natural gas drilling activity held flat for the week ended Friday as a net increase of two oil-directed units helped the domestic rig count to its fifth straight weekly increase, according to Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI).
The United States finished the week at 931 active rigs, versus 624 rigs running a year ago. Four horizontal units joined the patch, offsetting the loss of two vertical units. The Gulf of Mexico held flat week/week. The number of land units increased by one, while one rig was added in inland waters.
In Canada, the addition of one oil-directed unit couldn't offset the loss of four gas-directed rigs, and the Canadian tally fell three week/week to 219.
The combined North American rig count ended the week down one to 1,150 but still well above the 854 rigs running in the year-ago period, according to BHI.
Overall U.S. gas-directed drilling may have been flat for the week, but the gassy Marcellus and Haynesville shales raced each other higher, adding three rigs apiece to finish at 45 and 46 units, respectively. In Texas, the Permian Basin added three rigs, as did the Eagle Ford Shale. The Cana Woodford and Barnett Shale added one rig each.
In Appalachia, the Utica Shale saw three rigs exit to headline the week's losses. Elsewhere, decreases were seen in the Denver Julesburg-Niobrara (down two to 23 active units), Mississippian Lime (down two to four) and the Williston Basin (down one to 47).
Among states, Texas led with five rigs, while New Mexico, which sits atop part of the Permian, added three. In Appalachia, Pennsylvania added two rigs, and West Virginia added one.
States dropping rigs included Ohio (down four) and Colorado (down three), along with Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma, which each saw one rig pack up during the week.
On Thursday BHI released its international rig count for the month of November, showing 942 active rigs during the month across Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. That's down nine from the 951 average in October.
The average North American rig count for November came in at 1,115, down 11 from October, with the declines all in United States, including a 10-rig decrease in domestic land activity.
The worldwide rig count for November totaled 2,057, down from 2,077 for October but up from 1,678 worldwide active rigs in November 2016.