Eagle Ford Drilling is Flat – December 2, 2011

The Eagle Ford Shale drilling rig count remained flat at 257 rigs running over the past week.  An average of 253 drilling rigs worked throughout November and we’re starting even higher the first week of December.  The last month of the year is setting up to be the most active drilling month in the Eagle Ford’s history. The approximate 210-215 rigs targeting the Eagle Ford formation will easily drill more than 220 wells in December. Oil futures prices continue to show strength (WTI <$100/bbl) and natural gas futures prices (HH<$3.60/mmbtu) are leaving a lot to be desired for companies and mineral owners alike.

The January contract for natural gas is better than December, but it is going to take a lot of cold weather to get prices to move in a positive direction. The natural gas rig count fell 4 to a total of 97 rigs. That’s the first time natural gas drilling has dropped below 100 rigs in almost a year. A total of 5 oil rigs were added to bring us back up to 160 running.

Webb County did drop below 40 rigs during the week. Webb (38) still leads the region, while Karnes (34), La Salle (32), Dimmit (26), DeWitt (21), Gonzales (19), and McMullen (19) counties together account for 85% of Eagle Ford drilling. The companies with the most significant changes were Petrohawk (BHP) who dropped 3 rigs and Chesapeake who added 2 .

News highlighted throughout the play included:

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Drilling Rig Count by Operator


Operator Name Prior Week Current Week
Chesapeake 31 33
EOG Resources 26 25
ConocoPhillips (Burlington) 16 16
Pioneer Natural Res. 12 12
Anadarko 11 12
Petrohawk (BHP) 14 11
Lewis Petroleum 11 11
Marathon (Hilcorp) 8 9
Talisman 8 8
XTO (Exxon) 6 7
All Others 114 113

What is the Rig Count?

The Eagle Ford Shale Rig Count is an index of the total number of oil & gas drilling rigs running across a 30 county area in South Texas. The South Texas rigs referred to in this article are for ALL drilling reported by SmithBits and not solely wells targeting the Eagle Ford formation. All land rigs and onshore rig data shown here are based upon industry estimates provided by the Baker Hughes Rig Count and/or Smith Service Co’s (Schlumberger) Smith Rig Count.

Drilling Rigs by County

Texas County Prior Week Current Week Texas County Prior Week Current Week
WEBB 41 38 BURLESON 3 3
KARNES 30 34 WILSON 4 3
LA SALLE 34 32 COLORADO 2 2
DIMMIT 20 26 LAVACA 2 2
DEWITT 21 21 LEE 2 2
GONZALES 20 19 MAVERICK 0 2
MCMULLEN 19 19 DUVAL 2 1
LEON 10 11 FAYETTE 1 1
FRIO 12 10 GRIMES 2 1
LIVE OAK 10 8 MILAM 1 1
ROBERTSON 3 5 AUSTIN 0 0
ZAVALA 5 5 BASTROP 0 0
ATASCOSA 7 4 BEE 0 0
MADISON 3 4 GOLIAD 0 0
BRAZOS 3 3 Washington 0 0
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Kenneth E. DuBose

Kenneth E. DuBose

Kenneth DuBose is the past President of Cheyenne Minerals Inc., an independent oil and gas operator. He began his energy industry career with ARCO Oil & Gas. Mr. DuBose then directed development of natural gas storage projects with Tejas Power Corp. He was a founding member of U.S. Minerals, (acquired by Torch Energy in 1999) a provider of internet based education for America’s mineral owners. Mr. DuBose holds a BS in Petroleum Engineering from Mississippi State University. He has served on various industry steering committees, non-profit boards, and is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the National Association of Royalty Owners, the American Association of Professional Landmen, as well as being a Registered Investment Advisor. He writes on topics of oil and gas investing, wealth management and personal finance, having appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Houston Business Journal, Financial Advisor and various radio and TV outlets.

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