Eagle Ford Regional Rig Count 252 - Feb 1, 2013

ConocoPhillips Eagle Ford Acreage Map
ConocoPhillips Eagle Ford Acreage Map

The Eagle Ford Shale drilling rig count fell 3 rigs to average 252 running this past week. That's right in line with the average number of rigs running in January and 17 below the average of 269 rigs that ran throughout 2012. Honestly, it has been surprising the rig count has held this strong. Many analyst were calling for a larger drop in the rig count, but smaller operators have stepped in to help support activity. Larger operators lowered their rig count throughout 2012 as drilling times decreased. Faster drilling means you can drill more with less, so rigs get dropped.

ConocoPhillips is the perfect example of a company utilizing fewer rigs, but not necessarily drilling any less. The company utilized a peak of 17 rigs early in 2012, but lowered its rig count in the face of operational improvements that increased drilling speed. The backlog of drilled yet not completed wells simply grew over the year. Completion crews and gathering pipelines simply weren’t able to keep up with the rigs. ConocoPhillips (COP) has 11 rigs running as of January 2013.

Conoco's production also hit new highs as the company crossed the 100,000 boe/d mark in the fourth quarter. That's 100,000 boe/d from almost nothing three years ago.

Eagle Ford Oil & Gas Rigs

[ic-r]The natural gas rig count increased by two to 40 running this week. Gas prices continued two weeks of declines to trade at ~ $3.30/mmbtu on Friday afternoon.

The oil rig count fell five rigs to 210 running in the area. WTI crude futures were trading close to $98 per barrel to end the week. Eagle Ford crude priced at $110.53/bbl on the 31st of January. Eagle Ford light crude and condensate in the area traded at $94 and $93, respectively.

There are 225 horizontal rigs running in the region. A disposal well is being drilled in Frio County and an injection well is being drilled in Karnes County.

La Salle County leads development with 32 rigs running. DeWitt (24), McMullen (24), Webb (24), Dimmit (23), Karnes (22), Gonzales (22), Live Oak (21), Atascosa (10), Leon (7), Lavaca (7), and Frio (6) round out the top counties in the region. The drop from 31 rigs to 22 in Karnes County was almost entirely attributable to Marathon and ConocoPhillips. The two companies combined to move eight rigs out of Karnes County last week.

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Eagle Ford Rig Count by Operator

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