2013 Forecast: Rig count takes a momentary breather ///

The U.S. rig count average rose 1.9% last year. This 40-rig increase was less than 2011’s 334-rig increase (up 21.6%), for a number of reasons. Lower gas prices in 2012 meant reduced gas drilling activity and, since many operators spent through their budgets in the first three quarters, there was no rush to push extra capital into drilling, at the end of the year. This loss of activity, while not necessarily indicative of the year’s overall trends, detrimentally affected average rig count. Also, 2012 saw more efficient drilling as individual rigs tended to drill wells slightly more efficiently. This reduced the need for additional rigs without there being a drop in the overall well total.

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