The offshore rig count in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico rose by four this week to 175, or an 85.9 percent utilization rate, the highest drilling activity in nearly two years, the Offshore Data Services (ODS) said. In its report for the week ending July 21, the Houston-based ODS said that of the 203 mobile offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, 175 were under contract. In the European/Mediterranean region the rigs under contract remained steady at 89 of the 102 mobile offshore drilling rigs. European offshore rig utilization is 87.3 percent. In the worldwide offshore rig count five more rigs are under contract compared to a week ago. In addition, one rig was retired from the drilling fleet to work in a specialized non-drilling mode. With 535 of the world's 642 rigs under contract, worldwide offshore rig utilization is 83.3 percent. ODS' total worldwide offshore rig count includes changes in utilization and fleet size in regions beyond just the Gulf of Mexico and Europe/Mediterranean.