The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Drilling Completions Up in Third Quarter

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted October 28, 2010

U.S. oil and natural gas drilling increased markedly in the third quarter this year, according to API's 2010 Quarterly Well Completion Report: Third Quarter. An estimated 11,297 oil wells, natural gas wells and dry holes were completed, which was 45 percent higher than during the same period in 2009.

"I think this really demonstrates the oil and natural gas industry's continued commitment to finding new energy sources to meet growing U.S. and world demand, as well as the importance of new supply areas, many of which were only opened recently thanks to the industry's ability to apply innovative techniques to existing technologies," said Hazen Arafa, director of API's statistics department.

Pisceance.jpgAn estimated 4,434 U.S. natural gas wells were completed in the third quarter, as drillers used horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to unlock energy resources from hard rock formations such as the Marcellus Shale. About 5,451 U.S. oil wells were completed, accounting for an increase of 60 percent from year-ago levels.

Drilling in North Dakota's Bakken Formation contributed to the resurgence of oil well completions. This year the state is on track to shatter last year's oil production record by 30 million barrels.

"The Bakken is going gangbusters," said Steven Grape of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) told AP.

North Dakota's oil patch now accounts for about 6 percent of U.S. crude oil production. A record 5,115 wells were producing in August in North Dakota, and the state pumped more than 10 million barrels of oil in September.

Each barrel of North Dakota oil helps to offset the declining production in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the moratorium. It also improves U.S. energy security and helps to create jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that North Dakota's unemployment rate in August was 3.5 percent, as contrasted to the national rate of 9.6 percent.


The U.S. oil and natural gas industry could create more jobs if Congress and the administration opened additional areas to energy exploration and development.