Natural Gas Drilling Inches Higher in U.S. as Oil Count Slides
The U.S. natural gas rig count rose one unit to 156 for the week ended Friday (Dec. 30), while the loss of one rig in the oil patch left the combined domestic tally unchanged at 779, according to updated figures from Baker Hughes Co. (BKR).
Drilling totals on land and in the Gulf of Mexico both held flat for the period. A four-rig increase in directional rigs was offset by a four-rig decline in horizontal drilling.
The combined 779 active U.S. rigs as of Friday compares with 586 rigs running in the year-earlier period, according to the BKR numbers, which are partly based on data from Enverus.
The Canadian rig count fell 12 units to end the week at 84, down from 90 in the year-earlier period. Declines included seven oil-directed rigs and five natural gas-directed units.
Counting by major drilling region, the Ardmore Woodford saw a net increase of three rigs week/week to raise its total to seven. Elsewhere among plays, the Permian Basin added one rig, while the Cana Woodford posted a two-rig decline. The Denver Julesburg-Niobrara dropped one rig from its total, the BKR data show.
Counting by state, Texas added two rigs for the week, raising its count to 376, up from 277 a year ago. Oklahoma added a rig, while Louisiana, New Mexico and Utah each dropped a rig from their respective totals.
Oil and natural gas activity in Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas continued to grow in the final three months of the year but at a slower pace, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
The quarterly survey of energy trends by the Dallas Fed, as it is known, showed the business activity index, the broadest measure of conditions facing Eleventh District firms, rose for the ninth straight quarter. However, it stood at 30.3 versus 46 in 3Q2022.
“The oil and gas sector experienced another quarter of strong growth, but the pace of expansion slowed relative to the record-breaking levels seen earlier this year,” said Dallas Fed’s Michael Plante, senior research economist. “Costs continued to rise across the board, but survey results suggest they did so at a slower pace than last quarter.”
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