The Lower 48 oil and natural gas rig count remains sharply lower than a year ago, but fracturing activity is rising, a revival that should extend into 2021, all things (prices) being equal, Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. CEO Andy Hendricks said Thursday. 

PTEN gross margin

Drilling and completion activity for the Houston giant “stabilized” in the third quarter as its producer customers began finishing their DUCs, i.e. drilled but uncompleted wells. The operator ran four fracture fleets in the second quarter, added one in 3Q2020 and now plans to add one more fleet before the end of the year. 

”Based on our customer engagement, we expect activity will continue to improve through at least the first quarter of 2021,” Hendricks said. “Assuming commodity prices remain around current levels, we...