Rig activity increases in US and Devon ensures its drilling on federal lands


A new report by Enverus Rig Analytics based in Austin, Texas shows the U.S. oil and gas rig count increased by 10 in the past week to reach 405. It also revealed Devon Energy took major steps in protecting its future drilling on federal lands.

The count is as of Jan. 13 and down less than 1% in the past month and 50% below figures from a year ago.

Enverus indicated the Permian Basin added two to reach 174 active rigs while the Appalachia added three to increase to 42.

Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy has four rigs active in the Appalachia and is considered one of the two most active operators in the region. The other is Southwestern Energy which has five rigs in the Appalachia where the monthly average is 35 to 39 rigs over the past six months.

Oklahoma City’s Devon Energy has at least 14 rigs in the Permian. So does the other most active operator, EOG Resources. EOG also added 10 Permian rigs, according to Enverus, since the end of August and 12 of them are running in Lea County, New Mexico.

Eleven of the 12 EOG rigs are on federal leases. Devon has 8 of its 14 rigs in the Permian also on federal leases. As OK Energy Today reported earlier in the week, oil and gas operators stockpiled their oil and gas leases to thwart any possible move by President-elect Biden who vowed not to issue new drilling permits on federal lands.

Devon reportedly has a more than 500-permit insurance policy on its federal Delaware Basin leases. EOG says it too has a large inventory of already-approved permits that will keep the company active for several years.

Enverus stated that changes in Lea and Eddy County activity are not a symptom of the changing administration. Both have some of the best drilling sites in the Permian and Lea County has seen an 80% increase in rig activity since the end of the third quarter. Eddy county was said to be relatively flat during the same period.

In terms of gas plays, the Haynesville is where the action is increasing. The monthly average in the Ark-La-Tex region has increased every month since June, going from 29 to an average of 51 in January so far. Currently, Aethon Energy (eight rigs), Comstock Resources (six) and Indigo Natural Resources (six) are most active in this region.

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