Wells documented: Baker Hughes adds to its famous rig count


Oil field services giant Baker Hughes for decades has been the go-to source for the number of drilling rigs operating in a given week or month. Now, it is adding a count of new U.S. onshore oil and gas wells to its data set.

The Houston-based company said Thursday that the quarterly well count — when combined with the rig count — will allow the industry to track the efficiency of operations in various onshore basins.

For instance, current data shows that in the Williston, Marcellus, and Eagle Ford plays, there are about 20 percent more wells per rig compared to this time last year, Baker Hughes said.

In the Permian Basin, which spans West Texas and parts of New Mexico, the wells-per-rig figure barely has changed year-over-year.

The Williston basin, mostly in North Dakota, includes the Bakken Shale formation.

The Eagle Ford is in south Texas and the Marcellus is in the northeastern United States.

The combination of data sets also shows that during the winter months, the wells per rig figure is affected due to poor weather conditions, but often rebounds in the spring.

Overall, the second-quarter well data shows that the number of U.S. land wells fell to 8,800 from 9,582 a year earlier. There were an average of 5.2 land wells for each rig in the second quarter.

For now, the well count will include only new onshore wells started in the U.S. in a given quarter and historical U.S. onshore well count data going back to the first quarter of 2012.

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Spokeswoman Christine Mathers said the company focused attention first on onshore wells in the U.S. based on industry and public demand, but may add new data in the future, including possibly a count of offshore wells.

Some analysts and investment firms already publish well count data for specific offshore projects in the U.S. and overseas.

The new Baker Hughes land well count will be released on the second Friday of January, April, July, and October.

The well count does not include wells categorized as workover, plugged and abandoned or completed. It also does not include shallow wells; sidetracks drilled as part of existing wells; or projects deemed inconsequential to the oil and gas industry.

The data includes a summary of the quarterly onshore well count for the U.S broken down by major U.S. basins, as well as for areas not identified by a basin, and in total.

Also being presented are the corresponding U.S. rig counts for each basin and in total for the periods presented.

From the well and rig figures, Baker Hughes calculates the number of land wells per rig by basin and in total for the U.S. for the periods presented.

Baker Hughes has been issuing rig count data since 1944. It issues the North American rig count weekly and the international rig count monthly.

Oil and gas firms, industry suppliers and vendors and analysts use the rig count as a barometer for activity in the drilling industry.

Baker Hughes reports its second-quarter financial results on Friday.