Patterson-UTI 2Q17: Moving Rigs from Marcellus/Utica to W Texas

Each month MDN tracks how many rigs oilfield services company Patterson-UTI Energy reports operating–as a proxy for when/if the drop in rig counts for the Marcellus/Utica turns around. Patterson operates a number of rigs in the northeast, as well as other areas of the continental United States (and Canada). Patterson’s rig count kept sinking month by month until June 2016 when things finally turned around. Since last June, Patterson has reactived and began running new rigs (a higher rig count) in each successive month. In April, Patterson completed a merger/buyout of Seventy Seven Energy, the new name for the former Chesapeake Oilfield Operating company (see Patterson-UTI Energy Completes Merger with Seventy Seven Energy). Yesterday Patterson issued its second quarter 2017 update–the first mostly-full quarter of operation since acquiring the sinking SSE. The company lost $92.2 million in 2Q17, versus losing $85.9 million in 2Q16. That’s not so hot. However, even after acquiring SSE, Patterson “only” lost $156 million for the first six months of 2017, verses losing the same amount last year. So at least they aren’t slipping any further into the hole. The one that that caught our eye in reading a transcript of a conference call held yesterday is that Patterson is upgrading and moving seven rigs out of the Marcellus/Utica region to West Texas–to use them for oil drilling. There’s still plenty of rigs left in our region, but still, it indicates where Patterson’s priorities lie–in the super hot drilling of the Permian Basin…

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