Natural Gas Drilling Activity Slides to Open 2023, BKR Count Shows

The U.S. natural gas rig count fell four units to 152 for the week ended Friday (Jan. 6), while a three-rig decline in the oil patch helped lower the overall domestic tally seven rigs to 772, updated numbers from oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Co. (BKR) show.

Land drilling declined by eight rigs domestically for the period, while the Gulf of Mexico count rose one unit to end at 16. Declines included six horizontal rigs and one vertical rig, with directional drilling unchanged week/week.

The combined 772 active U.S. rigs as of Friday compares with 588 rigs running in the year-earlier period, according to the BKR numbers, which are based partly on data from Enverus.

The Canadian rig count rebounded to end the week at 189, a net increase of 105 rigs, with activity there largely recovering from steep losses posted in mid-December. Gains included 88 oil-directed rigs and 17 natural gas-directed rigs, according to BKR.

Counting by major drilling region, the Haynesville posted a three-rig decline for the period, with the Arkoma Woodford and Marcellus Shale each dropping one rig from their respective totals. The Granite Wash added two rigs week/week, while the Mississippian Lime and Utica Shale each added one, according to the BKR data.

Counting by state, Oklahoma saw a three rig decline overall for the week, while California, Louisiana and New Mexico each posted declines of two rigs. Texas added two rigs for the period, while Ohio added one.

Domestic oil production bounced back to near pandemic-era highs in the final week of 2022, recently updated numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed.

Output for the period ended Dec. 30 climbed 100,000 b/d week/week to 12.1 million b/d. That put production within 100,000 b/d of the 2022 peak that exploration and production companies first reached last summer, data from EIA’s latest Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed. The latest reading also easily surpassed the year earlier level of 11.8 million b/d.

Domestic production, while still well below the 13.1 million b/d record level reached in early 2020 prior to widespread coronavirus outbreaks, consistently held near or above 12.0 million b/d through the second half of 2022.



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