E&P companies put 68 additional rigs to work in first-quarter 2018, reversing a slight decline in the fourth quarter, which no doubt was due to bad weather and end-of-year budgets drying up.

Drillinginfo Inc. data suggest that more than half of the latest rig additions took place in January alone, as operators finalized their 2018 capital spending budgets and “scrambled to contract any remaining Super-Spec rig capacity,” said Guggenheim analyst Michael LaMotte in a report. The latter rigs, used for ever-longer laterals, are in hot demand in each shale play.

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