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US onshore rig count dips 6% below its 2-year high

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Jan. 8 2015, Updated 7:23 p.m. ET

Land-based rig counts decreased

During the week ending January 2, 2015, the US onshore rig count fell by 26 compared to the previous week’s count. There were 1,756 land-based rigs, including 12 inland water rigs. The inland water rig count remained unchanged from the previous week.

Last week’s fall was the sixth straight weekly onshore rig count decline. Of these, Texas lost nine last week. The onshore rig count reached a two-year high of 1,876 in the week ending November 21, 2014. In all, 120 onshore rigs have decreased in the past seven weeks, or a fall of ~6%.

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The onshore rig count has begun to show weakness after it sought to consolidate at its highest level since August 2012. The count reached the same landmark three times in the past three months. The onshore rig count has been on an uptick since the beginning of 2014. However, some jittery movement in the past couple of months upset this trend.

In the past year, the land-based US rig count is up 66, or ~4%. The number of offshore rigs decreased by six since the beginning of this year. Land-based rigs increased mostly in Oklahoma and New Mexico, by 40 and 22, respectively.

Most prolific states

Texas has the most land-based rigs in the US, with 839, or 48%, of the total US land-based rigs. Texas is followed by Oklahoma, with 209 land-based rigs. North Dakota has 169 land-based rigs.

Some of the biggest oilfield service companies are based in Texas. The companies include Baker Hughes Incorporated (BHI), Halliburton Company (HAL), Cameron International (CAM), and Weatherford International (WFT). Some of these companies are part of the VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH).

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4Q14 rig counts

In 4Q14, US land-based rig counts increased 1% to 1,856, compared to 1,842 rigs in 3Q14. Onshore rigs were up 9% from the 1,697 rigs recorded in 4Q13.

3Q14 well counts

In 3Q14, compared to 2Q14, well counts increased the most in the Cana-Woodford Shale, which was up ~28%. The Arkoma Woodford was up ~16% and the Niobrara-DJ was up 10%. The Gulf of Mexico is the main offshore rig indicator. We’ll discuss why in the next part of this series.

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