Eagle Ford Rig Count at 273 – BHP Overtakes Chesapeake as Most Active Driller

BHP becomes the top Eagle Ford operator in terms of drilling activity
Petrohawk Eagle Ford Shale Map

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The Eagle Ford Shale drilling rig count grew to 273 to end the week. BHP Billiton held for the second week in a row as the most active operator in South Texas. Chesapeake had held the top spot for more than a year and half, but has plans to lower its operated rig count to 25 by year-end and average 22 rigs running in 2013. The company has increased drilling efficiencies significantly over the past year. More wells per rig means fewer rigs are needed overall. The company’s capital budget is also constrained by low natural gas prices. In the past month alone, the company has sold almost $7 billion in assets to bridge its funding gap. Some of those assets were in the Eagle Ford. You can read more in our article Chesapeake’s Eagle Ford Midstream Assets Sold.

Eagle Ford Oil & Gas Rigs – New Oil Rig Count Record 217

The number of natural gas rigs fell to 53 this week. We’ve hovered in the 50-55 range for almost a month now and now there are no counties with more than 10 natural gas rigs running. Most leases are held by production and operators are going back to judging prospects based on economics. That will continue to be reflected in the natural gas rig count. There are a record 217 oil rigs working the region. That surpasses the old record of 215 set just two weeks ago.

One water well is being drilled in Bastrop County and two disposal wells are being drilled – one in Karnes County and one in Leon County.

Henry Hub futures were trading at ~$2.95 on Friday afternoon. That’s an almost $0.30 jump from last week. Spot prices also increased to $2.94 from ten cents less in the prior week.

WTI was trading at ~$99/bbl Friday afternoon. This is the first week in a month we’ve ended the week higher than $96/bbl. Eagle Ford crude priced at almost $108/bbl on September 14th and light crude and condensate in the area traded at $95.50 and $94.50, respectively.

There are 252 horizontal rigs running in the region. The four counties leading development are Karnes with 38 rigs, Dimmit (32), La Salle with 32 and McMullen with 28. Webb (22), DeWitt (21), Gonzales (19), Atascosa (16), Frio (12), and Live Oak (11) round out the top Eagle Ford counties.

News items this week included:

Be sure to visit our South Texas Oilfield Job Listings to search openings and come back weekly for updates or sign up for alerts – Email Subscribe Link]

Eagle Ford Rig Count by Operator

Operator Name Prior Week Current Week
BHP (Petrohawk) 29 28
Chesapeake 27 27
EOG Resources 20 19
Marathon Oil (Hilcorp) 21 19
ConocoPhillips 14 14
Lewis Petroleum 10 10
Murphy Oil 9 10
Anadarko 10 9
Pioneer Natural 10 9
Plains Exploration 9 9
Talisman Energy (Statoil) 9 9
Shell 6 8
Halcon Resources 3 6
Rosetta Resources 6 6
SM Energy 7 6
Cabot Oil & Gas 3 4
EP Energy 4 4
Hunt Oil 5 4
Swift Energy 4 4
Carrizo Oil & Gas 3 3
All Others 56 65
Total 265 273

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.

Eagle Ford Shale Drilling by County

Texas County Prior Week Current Week Texas County Prior Week Current Week
KARNES 40 38 GRIMES 3 3
DIMMIT 27 32 ZAVALA 2 3
LA SALLE 33 32 BEE 2 2
MCMULLEN 30 28 ROBERTSON 2 2
WEBB 21 22 Washington 2 2
DEWITT 21 21 WILSON 7 2
GONZALES 20 19 AUSTIN 1 1
ATASCOSA 11 16 BASTROP 0 1
FRIO 11 12 COLORADO 0 1
LIVE OAK 10 11 LEE 0 1
MADISON 6 7 BURLESON 1 0
LAVACA 4 5 DUVAL 0 0
LEON 5 5 GOLIAD 0 0
BRAZOS 4 4 MAVERICK 0 0
FAYETTE 2 3 MILAM 0 0

 

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R.T. Dukes

R.T. Dukes

Managing Editor at EagleFordShale.com
R.T. is the managing editor of EagleFordShale.com. In prior roles, he advised major oil companies on strategy, the macro business environment, and opportunity screening. 2503 Robinhood, Houston, TX, 77005, U.S.A. | Telephone: 832.429.4790

Comments

  1. With the presidential elections coming around, what is your opinion as to where the oilfield is headed? There’s been a lot of talk that if Obama is elected again, we’ll be looking for other jobs. Some even say its already slowing down. (weekly rig counts don’t show that)

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      As long as oil prices hold up, I don’t think there will be a huge impact on the oilfield. A more favorable business climate would undoubtedly help, but I don’t see a major slowdown coming either way.

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