The U.S. natural gas rig count slipped one unit to 103 for the week ended Friday (July 30) as a pullback in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) dragged the overall domestic tally lower, the latest data from Baker Hughes Co. (BKR) show.

rig count July 30

Declines in the United States also included two oil-directed rigs, leaving the combined count at 488 active rigs as of Friday. That’s nearly double the 251 rigs running in the year-ago period, according to the BKR numbers, which are based partly on data from Enverus.

The GOM saw three rigs exit during the period, lowering its total to 14 versus 12 a year ago. Land rigs remained unchanged at 473, while one rig continued to operate in inland waters. Four directional units and two vertical units exited overall for the week, partially offset by the addition of three horizontal units.

The Canadian rig count, meanwhile, added four rigs — all natural gas-directed — to raise its total for the week to 153, up from 45 a year ago.

In terms of changes by major basin, BKR recorded a one-rig decrease in the Haynesville Shale for the week. The Granite Wash, Marcellus Shale, Permian Basin, Utica Shale and Williston Basin each saw a net increase of one rig week/week.

Broken down by state, Louisiana posted the largest net loss for the week, dropping four units from its total to fall to 48, versus 29 a year ago. Utah saw a net loss of two rigs week/week, while Colorado and New Mexico each dropped one unit from their respective totals.

Meanwhile, Texas added two rigs during the period, while North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania each added one rig, the BKR data show.

The upstream oil and natural gas economy in Texas is finally signaling a new cycle of expansion in activity following the double-barrel contraction in 2019 and 2020, according to economic indicators.

The Texas Petro Index (TPI), created and overseen by petroleum economist Karr Ingham of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, through June had increased for three straight months and four of the last five months. 

The index improved to 147.2 in June from 143.1 in May. Still, the state remains in recovery mode, as the index was down by 7.2% from the June 2020 score of 158.6. 

The index “reached its most recent cyclical peak of 213.6 in February 2019 and remains down by some 31% through June compared to that level,” the TPI researchers noted. “From peak to trough, the contraction lasted 23 months, from February 2019 through January 2021, over which time the TPI declined by 38.6%.”