The U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore rig count is at its highest level in nearly a year, according to Offshore Data Services' weekly mobile offshore rig count.
A four-rig increase in the U.S. Gulf rig count over last week boosted the count to 140, the highest level since October 16 of last year. The 187-rig U.S. Gulf drilling fleet's utilization rate is now 74.9 percent. As utilization approaches and then exceeds 80 percent, rig owners should benefit in the form of improving rig day rates.
The European offshore rig count continues to falter as anticipated. A two-rig decline since last week pulls the area's offshore rig count down to 77 and utilization down to 71.3 percent. In addition, one rig moved into the area; the European offshore drilling fleet now numbers 108 units.
Worldwide, the four-rig increase in U.S. Gulf rig demand was offset by the decline in the European offshore rig count, resulting in a net two-rig increase in the worldwide rig count. Today, with 473 of the world's 630 mobile offshore drilling units under contract, worldwide offshore rig utilization
is 75.1 percent.