Friday, March 27, 2009

U.S. Rig Count Drops Again This Week

As discussed earlier this week, the number of active rigs in the U.S., as reported by Baker Hughes, continues to drop, this week by 46 to 1,039, a six year low. This is hardly news. The rig count has been sliding along with the prices of oil and gas. The number of rigs has decreased 50% since August 2008. Expect it to continue to drop. But where will it stop? I've seen credible predictions at 750 and 600 by industry and financial analysts. Who knows? A year ago, the rig count was 1,808. In 1981, the figure peaked at 4,530 (!).

There were 70 rigs running in north Louisiana, down from 73 the week before. In northeast Texas, there were 75 rigs running last week, down from 82 the week before. Back in August, north Louisiana averaged 80 rigs, while NE Texas averaged 126. Clearly the Haynesville Shale has not been as impacted as the rest of the country, and north Louisiana has has seen very little downturn.

Of the rigs running nationwide, 810 were exploring for natural gas, 217 for oil and 12were listed as miscellaneous. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost 17 rigs, Oklahoma lost six, Louisiana lost four and North Dakota and Wyoming each lost two. New Mexico, Colorado and Alaska each lost one. California added three rigs, and Arkansas was unchanged.

The Baker Hughes rig count web site is pretty cool. It has spreadsheets that offer all kinds of great information. The data is broken down by state and subdivision, i.e. North Louisiana, land-based rigs.

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