Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Rig Count Falls to 17-Year Low

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Rig Count Falls to 17-Year Low

Article excerpt

Oklahoma's active drilling rig count fell 5.37 percent last week to a 17-year low of 88.

Soggy oilfield roads continued to bog down activity as torrential rains continued for the third consecutive week, experts said.

For the past seven weeks Oklahoma's rig count has declined.

The state lost five rigs to 88 for the week ending Friday, down from 93 rigs the previous week, and the lowest since July 1972, according to the International Association of Drilling Contractors in Houston. Last week's statewide rig count was 26 percent below 119 rigs counted during the same period in 1988.

The state's rig count of 93 for the week ending June 2 was the lowest recorded activity since the 1973 Middle East oil embargo.

To the contrary, the U.S. rig count was up for the third week in a row. And, eight of 17 major oil and gas producing states surveyed recorded increases in activity last week while three states marked no changes in rig counts and six showed declines.

U.S. rig count for the week ending June 9 edged up 0.89 percent to 791 from 784 the previous week. That was down 11.9 percent from 898 rigs actively drilling during the same period last year.

Persisting thunderstorms carrying heavy downpours continues to be a major factor in Oklahoma's decline in activity, said Ike Kerridge, a specialist in drilling activity with the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

Thus far June rainfall totals 8.95 inches for the Oklahoma City metro area, according to the National Weather Service. Normal for the month is 3.87 inches.

When oilfield roads become mired, activity wanes because drilling crews cannot reach rigs for work or movement, Kerridge noted.

Skepticism of the oil and natural gas markets has also played a role in the downfall of the state's rig count, experts and drilling industry members still say.

"A lot of it (the lull in activity) is still based on a gas surplus," said a spokesman with Grace Drilling Co. …

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