The U.S. natural gas rig count surged seven rigs to 103 during the week ended Friday (May 7), overshadowing gains in the oil patch and helping to power continued growth in overall domestic drilling activity, according to data from Baker Hughes Co. (BKR).
Two oil-directed rigs were added in the United States for the period, while one miscellaneous unit exited the patch. The combined U.S. tally climbed eight units to finish the week at 448, up from 374 rigs active in the year-ago period, according to the BKR numbers, which are based partly on data from Enverus.
Land drilling increased by eight units domestically, while the Gulf of Mexico count went unchanged week/week at 13. Ten horizontal rigs were added overall, offsetting a two-rig decline in vertical drilling.
In Canada, two oil-directed rigs and two natural gas-directed rigs were added for the period, raising the overall Canadian count four units to 55 as of Friday. That’s a 29-rig increase over the 26 rigs active at this time last year, according to BKR.
Broken down by play, the Permian Basin and the Haynesville Shale saw the lion’s share of the gains during the week. The Permian added five rigs to up its total to 229, improving on the Covid-impacted year-ago count by 31 rigs. The gassy Haynesville, meanwhile, upped its total four units to 49, versus 32 a year ago.
Elsewhere among plays, the Marcellus Shale added one rig, while the Eagle Ford Shale dropped one from its total.
Broken down by state, Texas added five rigs for the week, while Louisiana added three. Pennsylvania and Utah each added one rig, while California dropped one, the BKR data show.
Haynesville giant Comstock Resources Inc. should see “moderate” production growth this year as market conditions improve, executives said during a first quarter earnings call earlier in the week.
Production this year is set to average 1.33-1.45 Bcf/d, executives said. Output in the first quarter averaged 1.281 Bcfe/day, 98% natural gas. Output was 6% higher sequentially but 7% lower than in the year-ago period, CEO Jay Allison said.
Meanwhile, after fetching $4.61/Mcf for its Permian natural gas in the first quarter, APA Corp. is stepping up its activity in some prospects and extending its exploration in Texas, executives said Thursday.
The Houston-based explorer, which operates in the gassy Alpine High development in the Permian Delaware sub-basin of West Texas, saw realized U.S. natural gas prices during the first quarter jump to $4.61/Mcf from 70 cents a year ago and from $1.68 in 4Q2020.
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