Rising commodity prices boost platform activity

More and more drilling rigs continue to be put back to work as still high commodity prices start to spur more activity.

Oil services firm Baker Hughes and data analytics firm Enverus said Friday the number of rigs in the United States rose by seven to 528, 262 more than the 266 at work last year .

There were 428 rigs looking for crude, up seven for the week and 239 more than 189 oil rigs a year ago. There were 99 natural gas rigs, unchanged for the week and 25 more than the 74 in operation a year earlier.

Texas added one platform for 243. The number of rigs in the state is 130 rigs higher than the 113 in service statewide at the same time a year ago. New Mexico added two rigs for 86. Louisiana – up 3 – and Oklahoma – up 1 – are the other producing states to have recorded a higher number of rigs. No state lost rigs for the week.

The number of rigs in the Permian Basin increased by three to 263, up 134 rigs from the 129 holes drilled in the area last year.

Lea County, New Mexico remains the busiest county in the Permian with 52 rigs, unchanged for the week. Eddy County, New Mexico, is second with 32 rigs, up two for the week.

Midland County reported 26 rigs at work within the county limits, unchanged for the week. Martin County had 25, down from a platform. Reeves County had 21 rigs, down from two, while Howard County had 16, down one. Loving County was left unchanged at 15 platforms and Upton County had 13, down one. Ward County added two platforms for 11 at work in the county, up from two.

According to Enverus Rig Analytics, which has different criteria and timeframe than Baker Hughes, the number of rigs in the United States has increased from one to 622 as of September 29. The number has increased by almost 3% last month and 98% in the last year.

The Permian and Anadarko basins are tied for the largest weekly increases, each gaining two platforms at 234 and 58 in total, respectively. The Appalachians lost the most platforms on a week-to-week basis, dropping from five to a total of 43.

The most active operators in the United States currently are Pioneer Natural Resources with 23 platforms, Mewbourne Oil Co. with 18, Continental Resources and EOG Resources with 17 each, and Devon Energy and ConocoPhillips with 16 each. Chesapeake Energy and Continental saw the biggest increase week over week, with each company adding two platforms. Chesapeake added the two rigs on the Gulf Coast, while Continental added one rig each in the Powder River and Williston Basins. Mirada Petroleum abandoned its two rigs in the Appalachian Basin and was the only company to abandon more than one rig week after week.

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