U.S. Rigs at Levels Never Recorded

by Elizabeth Alford on March 21, 2016

Across the United States, there are now fewer active oil and gas rigs since Baker Hughes began collecting data in the 1940s.

Related: IEA: Shale Back on Top by 2021

For the thirteenth-straight week, the overall U.S. rig count fell leaving 476 rigs running by midday Friday. Of this record low number, 89 were targeting natural gas and 387 for oil. This time last year, there were 1,069 active rigs.

  • Permian Basin:  remained flat at 150
  • Williston Basin: fell by one rig to 31
  • Marcellus: Remained flat at 31
  • Haynesville: fell by 1 to 14
  • Eagle Ford Shale: gained four rigs this week to 52

Companies have sidelined rigs as an effort to save money during the difficult industry downturn. Once prices are in a profitable range, companies will begin making rigs active again, starting with their inventories of drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs).

Despite the historic declines in the rig number, the US Energy Information Agency said that production has steadily grown.  The agency suggests that the increase in production is due to the expanded use of hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – which now accounts for more than half of US crude oil production. This news indicates the improved efficiceny that  that drilling has becoming increasingly efficient.

“With the development of shale resources, there is an increased integration of oil and gas production, and natural gas is often produced from rigs that are targeting oil,” the EIA said.

In February, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted that U.S. shale oil production would fall by 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year and another 200,000 bpd in 2017 but would likely recover in the longer term. The agency  expects improved efficiencies will help shale recover and that we may see record production again by 2021.

Read more at bakerhughes.com


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