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    NorthAm rig count down on Canadian decline


Baker Hughes reported a net decline in North American drilling activity for the week ending March 19.

by: Daniel Graeber

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NorthAm rig count down on Canadian decline

A decline in upstream activity in Canada ahead of spring breakup helped push the North American rig count lower for the week ending March 19, services company Baker Hughes reported on March 19.

Baker Hughes reported that the US rig count increased by nine, all targeting oil, from the week ending March 12, though the Canadian count declined by 24. However, the US rig count of 411 for the week ending March 19 was 361 below the same period last year, while the Canadian rig count was only six less than the year-earlier level.

In the US, 318 active rigs were drilling for oil and 92 for natural gas. In Canada, the oil rig count fell by 17, to 41, while the number of rigs drilling for gas declined to 51 from 58 the previous week.

The net decline in North American rig activity last week followed a correction of sorts for oil prices, which have seen significant gains since the first vaccines against Covid-19 were introduced in late 2020. West Texas Intermediate finished trading on March 19 at $61.42/barrel, down 6.4% from the closing rate on March 12. The Henry Hub gas price benchmark managed a gain of 2.5% to finish the week at $2.54/mn Btu.

For the US states, Baker Hughes reported New Mexico had the largest net increase in drilling activity, putting seven more rigs into service to reach 67. The Texas rig count declined by one, making it the only state to see a decrease in activity for the week. Of the main US shale basins, the Permian saw the most gains with three additions.

The latest drilling productivity report from the EIA estimates that only two of the primary shale basins in the US, Haynesville and Permian, can expect increases in production next month. Haynesville saw no rig additions last week.