U.S. natural gas well completions plunged by an estimated 24% from April through June, while oil well completions continued to steadily rise, according to the latest statistics from the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Gas well completions totaled 2,474 in the second quarter, versus 3,477 in the same period of 2011 (see Daily GPI, July 19, 2011).

However, total domestic oil and natural gas well completions in the latest quarter maintained levels similar to those of a year ago at about 11,000 wells, boosted by onshore oil and liquids-weighted drilling, according to the API's 2012 Quarterly Well Completion Report: Second Quarter.

Oil well completions jumped by 13% year/year, with 7,195 total wells finished in the latest quarter, versus 6,595 wells a year earlier.

"The oil and natural gas industry expanded oil drilling in the second quarter of 2012, thanks in large part to access on private and state lands," said API Director of Statistics Hazem Arafa. "Additional access to our own vast energy resources and streamlined federal permitting would allow for more opportunities to produce U.S. energy while creating more American jobs and generating more revenue for our government."

Exploratory well completions were up 26% to 800 wells year/year. Total footage drilled was estimated at 83,270 feet, a 3% increase from a year ago.

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