On the surface, drilling in the leading resource plays has all the markings of having entered a lull period. The unconventional rig count has been relatively unchanged for three consecutive quarters, and utilization has been fairly stable near 80% since early February. However, there are serious riptides underneath this relative calm, The Land Rig Newsletter team warns in the latest issue of The Unconventional Drilling Report.
The strongest Q1 currents were felt in the Eagle Ford, where the rig count surged 25% vs. Q4, and the Bakken, where the count was 15% higher. The Barnett, down 12%, and the Haynesville, down 7.5%, provided countervailing currents. Rig markets are likely to remain tight in the Eagle Ford, Bakken, and DJ basins throughout Q2. More generally, the LRNL team expects growth in oil-directed drilling to be in the double-digits in Q2 as growth in liquids-focused plays expands. Also, the LRNL team expects rig counts in dry gas areas, such as the Haynesville and the northeast window of the Marcellus, to extend recent declines during the quarter.