Permian drilling surge drives U.S. oil rig tally to record

|By:, SA News Editor

A drilling surge in the Permian Basin appears to account for this week's increase in the U.S. oil rig count, which jumped by 13 to a record high 1,443 in the latest tally by Baker Hughes (BHI).

“While it’s one of the oldest fields in the U.S., there are multiple producing formations there, and companies are learning how to optimize horizontal drilling in them," WTRG Economics' James Williams says. "The growth is evidence that they’re figuring it out."

Indeed, as Permian crude production per rig is expected to climb to 98K bbl/day this month, up from 83K a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

While Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD), for example, is drilling in a 300-ft. thick shale shale formation in Texas' Eagle Ford play, the Permian offers shale depths of 3,500 ft., “so this is why this area has really substantial running room going forward,” COO Timothy Dove says.

Other top Permian producers: CXO, APA, COG, CVX, OXY, EGN, END.