United States: US drilling ///

UThe good times roll on, but the pace is slowing, even as operators demonstrate strong optimism in their 2008 drilling plans. In fact, in many cases, we had to dampen operators’ apparent enthusiasm in their planned increases-we just thought that such steep increases would not be sustainable (see raw data in the operators’ tables). Drilling levels for 2007 came in at 49,195, remarkably close to our midyear revision to 49,215 wells in August. Some areas showed a declining rig count in the latter half of the year, indicating caution by the operators. While last year the industry projected a 7% increase in drilling activity, spending this year is expected to slow slightly to 6.5%, according to Citi Investment Research (see page 50). This year’s World Oil survey drew out increases in planned drilling for 2008 in most regions of the country, led by Texas with a forecast increase of 6.8%.

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