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Drilling activity moving up. While nobody is forecasting a drilling boom this year, it is a good feeling to see the US rig count moving up from the low point of April 2002, which saw only 750 rigs working, then slow improvement through early 2003. Lehman Brothers now offers some proof to support continued drilling increases, for a couple of months anyway. Drilling permits for the 30 states that the analyst monitors increased by 6.6% during April from the March count, adjusted for comparable numbers of filing days. April’s increase was led by Montana (up 184%), West Virginia (58%), Louisiana (42%), Wyoming (32%) and New Mexico (29%). This is the fourth consecutive month of improvement in permitting activity and is a positive indicator for continued increases in the domestic rig count during the months ahead, Lehman says.
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