US drillers add rigs for week eight

U.S. drillers continue to head to the wellbore, adding rigs this week for an eighth consecutive month.

Oil services company Baker Hughes, which has tracked nationwide rig counts weekly since the 1940s, said on Friday the number rose by nine to 714, the highest level since March 2020. There are 261 More rigs, or 58%, at work than the 453 counted last May.

The number of rigs searching for crude oil rose by six to 563, also the highest level since March 2020 and 211 more than the 352 reported a year earlier. The rig count for natural gas remained unchanged at 149 and is the highest level since September 2019. There are 49 more rigs than the 100 counted last year.

Texas added a rig for 345 — 129 more than the 216 at work statewide last May. New Mexico was unchanged at 98 rigs. Colorado (1), Louisiana (1), North Dakota (1), Oklahoma (4), Utah (1) and Wyoming (1) joined Texas as producing states for experience increases. Kansas (1) was the only producing state to experience a decline.

The Permian Basin was unchanged at 335 rigs, 104 more than the 231 drilled in the region last year.

Lea County, New Mexico remained the busiest county in the Permian with 48 rigs, down one. Eddy County, New Mexico was the second most active with 45 rigs, one more.

Midland County reported 40 rigs at work within county limits for a fourth week, while Martin County was unchanged at 34 rigs.

Reeves County had 31 active rigs for a third week. Loving County had 28 rigs for a second week. Howard County had 21 rigs for a third week and Upton County had 17 rigs, also for a third week.

Enverus Foundations said in its weekly report that Permian operators accelerated drilling programs last month.

The SaaS – software-as-a-service – energy company said its US platform count increased by 10 last week to 790 as of May 11. Activity levels were up 5% last month and 49% year-on-year. The number hit 790 over the past week, down three from the previous week’s peak.

The number of Permian platforms increased by 10 last week to a total of 306 between the Midland and Delaware basins. Delaware was up nine rigs to 177, while Midland added one to 129. Permian is also up eight rigs on a month-to-month basis.

While there are still variations in the number due to rig downtime between wells, some operators have made sustained rig additions to their schedules over the past month. Colgate Operating added a platform on May 7 and one on May 10, bringing its total to seven. Similarly, holding company Apache APA Corp. added two platforms since early May and now operates a total of four. Occidental Petroleum began operating 17 rigs in mid-April after averaging 15 in the first quarter.

In the past month, the following companies have each added a rig to their already active programs: Coterra Energy (now with seven rigs in total), Patriot Resources (four), Centennial Resource Development (three), Marathon Oil (three), Spur Energy Partners (three), Discovery Operating (two) and Rio Oil & Gas (two).

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Steven L. Nielsen