Driven by declines in the oil patch, the U.S. rig count tumbled 12 units lower to finish at 759 for the week ended Friday (Feb. 3), according to updated numbers from oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Co. (BKR).


Domestic declines for the week included 10 oil-directed rigs and two natural gas-directed rigs. Land drilling declined by 11 rigs, with the Gulf of Mexico count easing one unit lower to 12, down from 16 in the year-earlier period. The United States saw net losses of seven directional rigs and five horizontal rigs, with vertical units unchanged week/week.

The combined 759 active U.S. rigs as of Friday compares with 613 rigs running in the year-ago period, according to the BKR numbers, which are based partly on data from Enverus.

The Canadian rig count finished the week at 249 after adding two oil-directed units. That’s up from 218 rigs running at this time last year.

Counting by major drilling region, the Permian Basin posted a three-rig decline for the period, falling to 354 active rigs, versus 294 a year ago. The Granite Wash dropped one rig from its total to fall to nine.

In the state-by-state count, BKR recorded declines of three rigs each in Texas and Wyoming, while two rigs exited the patch in California. Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana and Utah each posted one-rig declines, the BKR data show.

Rig technology expert Helmerich & Payne Inc. (H&P) is not expecting over-the-top activity by its exploration customers this year, with steady and moderate activity more likely, CEO John Lindsay said earlier in the week.

Last November, Lindsay predicted moderate growth this year in the U.S. rig count, as the exploration and production customers stick to moderate activity and disciplined spending. So far, that forecast appears to be accurate, he told investors.

“We’ve seen time and again that in a highly cyclical industry like oil and gas, losing sight of the long run can be fatal,” he said. “So we believe that capital discipline contributes to the overall economic health of our company, as well as our industry.”