The U.S. natural gas rig count added three units to reach 157 for the week ended Friday (June 24), while a surge in oil-directed drilling lifted the combined domestic count 13 units higher to 753, the latest numbers from Baker Hughes Co. (BKR) show.


Along with the three natural gas-directed rigs, domestic drilling gains for the week also included 10 oil-directed rigs. The 753 active U.S. rigs as of Friday compares with 470 in the year-earlier period, according to the BKR numbers, which are based partly on data from Enverus.

All of the net increase in the United States resulted from land drilling, with the Gulf of Mexico count unchanged at 15. Eleven horizontal units were added week/week, alongside two directional rigs.

The Canadian rig count, meanwhile, eased two units lower to 154, a result of a two-rig decline in natural gas-directed drilling, the BKR data show.

Looking at changes by major region, the Permian Basin led the way with an increase of four rigs for the period, bringing its total to 349, versus 236 in the year-ago period. The Cana Woodford and Eagle Ford Shale each added three rigs to their respective tallies. Elsewhere among plays, the Denver Julesburg-Niobrara and Granite Wash each added one rig, while the Mississippian Lime saw one rig exit for the period.

Counting by state, Texas picked up six rigs week/week, raising its overall count to 362, up from 221 a year ago. Colorado added three rigs for the week, while Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming each added one, the BKR data show.

Exploration and production (E&P) operators in the U.S. onshore are ramping up drilling activity, particularly in the Permian Basin, to offset the shrinking drilled but uncompleted (DUC) well inventory, ESAI Energy LLC said recently.

Crude oil prices topping $100/bbl “have incentivized more rigs, especially from private companies, and the diminishing inventory of DUCs means more drilling is necessary just to maintain levels of production,” said ESAI upstream analyst Elisabeth Murphy.

According to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), the Lower 48 DUC count dropped by 46 units to 4,249 from April to May.Since peaking in June 2020, the DUC inventory has declined 60% as E&Ps maintained a cash-preservation stance and kept drilling subdued, ESAI noted.