North America gained 22 rigs for the week for a combined tally of 1,178, up from 582 a year ago.
US drillers added six natural gas-directed rigs during the week ended July 28, according to General Electric’s Baker Hughes energy services firm. The United States added eight rigs total for the week, countering recent indications that North American drilling activity is plateauing overall.
The United States saw seven land rigs and one offshore rig return, according to Baker Hughes. The onshore gains more than offset the four land rigs that packed up the week before. The total US rig count now stands at 958, up from 463 a year ago.
Drillers have added rigs in 55 of the past 61 weeks since the start of June 2016.
Meanwhile, Canada gained 14 rigs (11 oil-directed, three gas-directed) to end the week at 220, up from 119 rigs a year ago.
In total, North America gained 22 rigs for the week for a combined tally of 1,178, up from 582 a year ago.
Among plays, the Permian Basin (in West Texas and parts of southeastern New Mexico) led the charge, adding five rigs to end at 379 (up from 172 a year ago). The Permian's weekly gains appear concentrated in the New Mexico portion of the play, as the state added four rigs for the week while Texas finished down a rig overall.
Activity also increased in the Midcontinent, where Oklahoma's Cana Woodford added four rigs to finish at 63 (up from 29 a year ago).
The rig gains by play reflect the uptick in gas-directed drilling. The Appalachian Basin's Marcellus (46) and Utica (29) shales each added a rig for the week, and even the Barnett Shale in Texas got in on the act, adding a rig to end at 7, according to Baker Hughes. The Haynesville Shale held onto its recent gains to hold flat at 45 rigs, triple its year-ago tally of 15.
The rig count is an early indicator of future output.