Drilling and completions expert Patterson UTI Corp. is running 70 rigs today across the Lower 48, up three from the January average, and more equipment is likely to ramp up in the months to come, CEO Andy Hendricks said Thursday.

patterson rig count

Hendricks, who discussed the outlook during a fourth quarter conference call, said the company’s rig count should remain “flattish” through the end of March.

“But it’s not a top, not a plateau,” he told investors. ‘It’s just where the quarter is going to land as we look forward to the rest of the year. I anticipate we’ll be putting up more drilling rigs.”

In addition, the rig dayrates are rising, with a forecast they will average $21,000/day in 1Q2021, up from the past couple of quarters. 

“We thought that we would see a margin...