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US Land Drilling to Increase 16.5% in 2018

US land oil & gas operators report plans to drill 16.5% more wells in 2018 versus 2017.

A recent study conducted by Kimberlite Oilfield Research based on personal interviews with over 150 oil & gas operators reveals that US land and Canada drilling are poised to grow in 2018.

Specifically, US land drilling increase for 2018 is led by the Permian basin with an expected 33.2% increase in drilling for 2018 versus 2017 followed by the Marcellus/Utica at 16.5% and Rockies at 16.1%. Canadian operators report plans to increase drilling by approximately 36.9% in 2018.

In 2017, the US land drilling rig count climbed from approximately 680 drilling rigs in January, 2017 to the current level of approximately 940 drilling rigs in September, 2017. With oil prices stabilizing in the $50 range and oil & gas operators continuing to drive drilling and completion efficiencies to new levels, it is reasonable to assume that oil & gas operators will be able to enjoy a full calendar year in 2018 with 900+ drilling rigs operating resulting in the associated increases in drilling noted in the table above.

It is important and impressive to note that while US land oil & gas operators have increased the average lateral length of their unconventional wells by 20.3% in the past year, the actual number of days to drill a well has decreased by 5.8% highlighting the level of efficiencies achieved in the market by the oilfield services companies and the oil & gas operators.

While many unknowns exist in the market with respect to the geopolitical stability of the Middle East and many other oil producing regions, the current sentiment among North America oil & gas operators remains positive for 2018.

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