U.S. Rig Count Snaps 12 Weeks of Gains


"Rigs exploring and producing in the U.S. totaled 1,653 for the week."

For the week ended September 3, 2010, U.S. exploring and producing rigs totaled 1,653ódown three from the week prior, representing the first decline in 13 weeks. However, the current nationwide rig count is 89% higher from the 2009 low of 876 (June 12, 2009) and significantly exceeds the 2008 level of 1,009. It rose to a 22-year high in 2008, peaking to 2,031 in late August and early September.

Rigs engaged in land operations fell by three to 1,619, while inland waters and offshore activity remained steady at 14 and 20, respectively.

Natural Gas Rig Count

The natural gas rig count increased for the first time in three weeks to 977 (up four from the week prior). In August, the number of gas-directed rigs hit 992, an 18-month high. The U.S. gas drilling rig count has rebounded strongly after bottoming out to a seven-year low of 665 on July 17, 2009. Still, the rig count remains 39% lower than its late-summer 2008 peak of 1,606. In the year-ago period, there were 701 active natural gas rigs.

Oil Rig Count

The oil rig count was down by seven to 665, the first decline in seven weeks. Despite the week-over-week fall, the current tally is considerably higher than the previous year's rig count of 295. It has recovered nicely from a low of 179 in June 2009, nearly quadrupling in number.

Miscellaneous Rig Count

The miscellaneous rig count (primarily drilling for geothermal energy), at 11, remained unchanged from the week prior.

Rig Count by Type

The number of vertical drilling rigs was up one to 528. On the other hand, horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling technology that has the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock formations, also known as shale formations) fell by four to 1,125.

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