Onshore Drilling Rig Use To Increase Over The Next Five Years

Onshore Drilling Rig Use To Increase Over The Next Five Years
Westwood has revealed that the use of the worldwide onshore drilling rig fleet is recovering with dayrates increasing in several regions.

The specialist energy market research and consultancy firm Westwood Global Energy has revealed a healthy recovery roadmap for the global land rig market, driven by higher commodity pricing and mounting pressures around energy security.

Westwood expects many regions to recover from the dramatic global downturn throughout 2020 better than previously expected. In 2020, levels reached a low of around 39,000 wells drilled onshore globally, but activity in 2022 is expected to reach 49,600 before climbing to around 60,000 wells in 2026.

The increase in drilling demand combined with higher commodity pricing has seen land drilling rig dayrates increase in several regions. The US has seen dayrates increase by 25 percent over 2022, with average dayrates for the second quarter of 2022 reaching $26,500. Other regions such as the Middle East have more stable pricing due to longer-term contracts and the presence of large National Oil Company-owned rig fleets.

As operators focus on developing more complex reservoirs, growing demand for super-spec automated rigs in the US has also meant that these units are reaching dayrates in the mid-$30,000s due to tight supply. Outside of the US, countries such as Colombia and Oman are also experiencing high demand for high-spec rigs, with Colombia seeing dayrates reaching $45,000 for units with automation capabilities.

“It’s encouraging to see the market begin to get back on its feet after the setbacks from 2020 and 2021, but there will still be a significant oversupply of rigs globally, which we expect to see throughout the forecast period.”

“The need for greater domestic energy production to ensure the security of supply has no doubt had an impact on the speed of recovery that we’re seeing in comparison to last year’s forecast. The sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine have led to higher-than-expected oil and gas prices, supporting rig demand globally.”

“This, coupled with Western countries looking to plug the gaps left by Russian supply, has increased the need for greater domestic production and opened the door for other exporting countries to increase output,” Todd Jensen, Research Analyst, Onshore Energy Services at Westwood said.

Despite a positive outlook for demand, the oversupply of rigs will remain a key factor in the sector, with demand unlikely to return to the pre-2014 downturn levels that led to a surge in newbuild rig construction. While utilization in 2022 has increased to 45 percent, from 43 percent in 2021, and is forecast to grow to 53 percent by 2026, numbers will remain well below maximum capacity.

At the same time, the increased focus on automated rigs, which currently account for just 16 percent of the overall rig fleet, could also lead to demand outweighing the supply of these rigs, a trend that is already being noted in the US specifically, where some drilling contractors are expecting to exhaust their available supplies of super-spec rigs by mid-2023.

To contact the author, email bojan.lepic@rigzone.com


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