West Texas’ booming Permian Basin led another spike in the number of rigs drilling for oil and gas nationwide.
The U.S. rig count has risen steadily for two years along with increasing oil prices and the Permian accounted for more than one-third of the jump this week, according to weekly data collected by Houston energy services firm Baker Hughes, a GE company.
The overall drilling rig count jumped by 13 this week, including 10 rigs seeking crude oil. Eight of those came in Texas, including five oil rigs in the Permian. Colorado and Oklahoma each tacked on three active rigs. However, while the small New Mexico portion of the Permian led growth a week ago, New Mexico actually lost four rigs this week.
There are now 844 rigs drilling for oil with more than half of them – 463 – situated in the Permian. There are 199 gas-seeking rigs and two miscellaneous rigs, creating a total rig count of 1,045, the highest count since March 2015.
The total count is up from an all-time low of 404 rigs in May 2016.
The next most active area after the Permian is South Texas’ Eagle Ford shale with 78 rigs and then Oklahoma’s Cana-Woodford shale with 70 rigs. Texas is home to 523 rigs overall – just more than half of the nation’s total – while Oklahoma is second with 138 rigs. New Mexico is next with 89 rigs.
Despite this week’s jump, the oil rig count is down 48 percent from its peak of 1,609 in October 2014, before oil prices began plummeting. However, rigs today are able to drill more wells than before and to deeper depths to produce more oil and gas. That’s largely why the U.S. is producing record volumes of both crude oil and natural gas.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.