The overall U.S. rig count went unchanged at 799 during the week ended Friday, as gains in the oil patch offset a pullback in natural gas drilling, according to data from Baker Hughes Co. (BKR).
U.S. oil-directed rigs increased by four units to 667 for the week, while natural gas rigs dropped four to 129. The combined domestic rig count ended the week 272 units behind its year-ago total of 1,071.
Two vertical units were added, offsetting a decline of two horizontal units. The Gulf of Mexico added one rig to end the week with 23, flat year/year, according to BKR.
The Canadian rig count, meanwhile, surged 15 units week/week to reach 153, but down from 174 in the year-ago period. The combined North American rig count ended the week at 952, versus 1,245 at this time last year.
Among plays, the Marcellus Shale saw a surprising four-rig increase on the week, climbing to 41 versus 56 in the year-ago period. Offsetting the gains in the gassy Marcellus, the Utica Shale saw two rigs exit, dropping it to 11 rigs, down from 17 a year ago.
Also among plays, the Barnett Shale, Denver Julesburg-Niobrara and Haynesville Shale each dropped one rig.
In line with the Marcellus increase, West Virginia picked up three rigs to reach 16 for the week, while Pennsylvania added one. Ohio dropped two rigs.
Also among states, Wyoming dropped two rigs, while Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico each dropped one. Kansas added one rig.
Chevron Corp. revealed recently that it plans to raise capital spending in the Permian Basin by around 11% for the coming year, but Appalachia is to see budget cutbacks on the continued slump in natural gas prices.
In issuing its 2020 capital budget plans, the San Ramon-based supermajor said it was evaluating “strategic alternatives” for its Appalachian shale exploration and development.
“We believe the best use of our capital is investing in our most advantaged assets,” CEO Michael Wirth said. “With capital discipline and a conservative outlook comes the responsibility to make the tough choices necessary to deliver higher cash returns to our shareholders over the long term.”
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