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    North American rig count improves again: Baker Hughes


This is the fourth week in a row for net gains in North American exploration and production activity.

by: Daniel Graeber

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North American rig count improves again: Baker Hughes

The Baker Hughes rig count report for October 1 showed drilling activity in North America improved for the fourth week in a row.

Soaring commodity prices may be incentivising upstream activity in Canada and the US. Increased drilling for oil led the overall gains, with only minor increases in the gas-focused active rig count. All of the increase in natural gas work came from Canada.


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Using data from Enverus, Baker Hughes reported a net gain of 10 rigs for the week, with the US leading the way with an addition of seven new rigs.

By basin, the Permian shale in the southern US saw the most increase during the week with a net gain of three. Enverus, in a separate report published September 30, indicated that Pioneer Natural Resources was the most active player in the Lower 48 US states this week.

Oil work by far dominates the US upstream landscape, accounting for about 81% of all active drilling. The gas rig count peaked at 104 during the week ending July 23, compared with the current level of 99.

In Canada, a gain of four rigs in resource-rich Alberta was offset by the loss of one rig in neighbouring Saskatchewan. Baker Hughes does not break down oil and gas activity at the provincial level.

As with the US, oil dominates the Canadian landscape, but to a lesser degree. For the week, oil accounted for nearly 60% of the active rigs. The total rig count for Canada peaked early this year, in February, with 176 listed as active, compared with the current level of 165.

At this point last year, there were 352 fewer active rigs in North America than this week. But compared with the similar week in 2019, to discount the strains from the pandemic, the rig count for the week ending October 1 is lower by 306.