Bolstered by an uptick in drilling in the Haynesville Shale, the U.S. natural gas rig count climbed one unit to reach 154 for the week ended Friday (Dec. 16), while a slowdown in the oil patch saw the combined domestic tally retreat four units to 776, according to updated Baker Hughes Co. (BKR) data.


Net changes in the United States for the week included a five-rig decline in oil drilling. Land drilling declined by one rig overall, while the Gulf of Mexico dropped three rigs from its total to fall to 15. Domestic declines included three directional rigs and one horizontal rig, with vertical drilling unchanged week/week.

The combined 776 active U.S. rigs as of Friday compares with 579 rigs running in the year-earlier period, according to the BKR figures, which are partly based on data from Enverus.

The Canadian rig count dropped three units overall, falling to 199, up from 167 in the year-earlier period. Changes there included a seven-rig decline in oil-directed drilling, partly offset by the addition of four natural gas-directed rigs.

Counting by major drilling region, the Haynesville added three rigs to its total to end the period with 72, up from 47 a year ago. Elsewhere among plays, the Denver Julesburg-Niobrara, Eagle Ford Shale and Williston Basin regions each dropped one rig from their respective totals, according to BKR.

In the state-by-state count, Louisiana added two rigs week/week, while New Mexico and Alaska each added one. On the other side of the ledger, Texas dropped three rigs for the period, while Wyoming’s tally fell by two. Colorado, North Dakota and Oklahoma each dropped one rig.

Led by growth in the Haynesville, natural gas production from seven key U.S. onshore regions is set to surge past the 96 Bcf/d mark in early 2023, according to recently updated modeling from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The agency’s latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) models a combined 96.281 Bcf/d of natural gas production from seven Lower 48 drilling regions, a month/month increase of 535 MMcf/d. 

Carrying over from month-earlier projections, the Haynesville will lead natural gas production gains month/month, accounting for 152 MMcf/d of growth and raising its output to 16.409 Bcf/d, according to the latest DPR.

Alongside the Haynesville, the DPR also tracks production trends in the Anadarko, Appalachia and Permian basins, as well as the Bakken, Eagle Ford and Niobrara shales.