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Rig Counts Swell Across US Shale Plays

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Surging commodity prices are lifting drilling activity across US shale basins, reinvigorating some plays that went quiet during the pandemic. The powerhouse Permian Basin continues to drive the recovery that has occurred over the past year, but the resurgence is spreading to other major shale plays, as well as some marginal ones, in response to soaring prices for crude, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs). The US oil and gas rig count now totals 727, down less than 10% from the roughly 800 rigs that were operating in the final months of 2019, before the pandemic hit, according to Baker Hughes. Rig activity has been particularly robust this year in the Eagle Ford of South Texas, which is on the verge of reaching its pre-pandemic rig count level. And while the Williston Basin of North Dakota's Bakken Shale is nowhere near its pre-pandemic rig count of 53, it has recovered from a 2020 low of nine to 38. On the marginal side, the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Colorado is set to grow output by 40,000 barrels per day in the next 10 months, according to Rystad Energy's head of shale research, Artem Abramov. Elsewhere, Enverus has noted an uptick in several previously sidelined plays: The Mancos shale in Colorado's Piceance Basin recently had five active rigs, something that hasn’t happened since December 2014.

Topics:
Rig Count, Shale, Corporate Strategy , Capital Spending, Independent E&Ps
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