Oil explorers hungry for "super-spec" rigs expand U.S. drilling

By David Wethe on 6/8/2018

HOUSTON (Bloomberg) -- Oil drillers added more rigs in the U.S. this week, undaunted by pipeline bottlenecks that are hindering efforts to ship crude from the nation’s busiest field.

U.S. working oil rigs rose by one this week to 862, the highest since March 2015, according to data from Baker Hughes. The American rig fleet has expanded on an almost-uninterrupted streak since October.

Demand for the most-advanced drilling gear is on the upswing as explorers deploy so-called “super-spec” rigs to U.S. shale fields, according to Susquehanna International Group LLP.

“In fact, all agree that demand for rig additions is continuing and that growth is being constrained more by lack of super-spec capacity than by takeaway capacity,” Charles Minervino, an analyst at Susquehanna, wrote in a June 8 note to investors. “The large majority of E&Ps are going to stick with their spending programs set forth at the beginning of the year.”

Crude output in the U.S. rose by 31,000 bpd last week to a record 10.8 million, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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