API: First-quarter Drilling, Completion Estimates at 21-year High

U.S. first-quarter 2007 drilling estimates hit a 21-year high and were nearly twice the level of first quarter drilling activity recorded during the 1990s, API said.

API's 2007 Quarterly Well Completion Report: First Quarter estimated 11,771 oil wells, natural gas wells and dry holes were completed in the first quarter of 2007, up one percent from the first quarter of a year ago.

Natural gas continues to be the primary target for domestic drilling. An estimated first-quarter record high of 7,085 natural gas wells were completed in the first three months of 2007.

API's estimates show that the resurgence in oil well completion activity that began in 2000 is continuing into 2007. An estimated 3,674 oil wells were completed in the first quarter of 2007, second only to the first quarter last year when estimated first quarter oil well drilling was at 1988 levels.

Total estimated exploratory completions, accounting for just under 6 percent of total estimated completions, fell 21 percent in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year, while total estimated development completions were up 3 percent.

API also reported total estimated footage of 65,747,000 feet drilled in the first quarter of 2007. This was down three percent from the first quarter of 2006 but the second highest first quarter estimated footage drilled in two decades, right behind last year's first quarter.

The API Quarterly Well Completion Report is available for an annual subscription from API's Publications and Distribution Section.