Rigs drilling in unconventional resource plays now comprise 48% of U.S. land rigs, according to the latest issue of The Unconventional Drilling Report. That’s impressive when one considers that the unconventional share was 43% last quarter and just 39% in 3Q 2009. Much of the growth comes from three plays: Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Marcellus. These plays have put a combined 134 rigs to work this quarter alone. Notably, strong growth in the Eagle Ford and Bakken underpins recent market share gains for oil-directed activity. Oil-directed drilling now represents 29% of shale activity, up from 26% in mid-July.
Recent permitting suggests ongoing support for drilling across most unconventional resource plays. Two notable exceptions are the Fayetteville and Woodford shales. Clearly, operators’ thirst for liquids will continue to drive rigs to the Bakken and Eagle Ford. Other resource plays that could see more rigs include the West Texas Wolfberry, the Granite Wash, and the Niobrara.