The March numbers show a mixed bag for drilling in Uintah and Duchesne County.
According to data provided by the State Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, the U.S. Energy Information Administration and compiled by the Uintah Basin Small Business Development Center, drilling continues to trend down. The one bright spot in the drilling data, reports the center’s Regional Director Mark Holmes, is that applications for permits to drill for Uintah County are up 65 percent over last year which is a good indicator that more companies have intentions to drill than before. Holmes also reports that as of Tuesday, Baker Hughes is showing only one rig operating south of Vernal with six more clustered around the Uintah/Duchesne County line, all drilling for oil. As for natural gas, its price is trending higher over the last year and inventory peaked at the lowest level in 10 years. “Higher prices and lower inventory is a precursor to more production,” shares Holmes. “That is the one biggest indicator our oilfield has struggled with the last few years. Inventories have been at all time highs and prices have been at 20 year lows and our little field is more expensive to work than other places.” So having the price of natural gas trending up and inventory at its lowest level could be a light on the horizon.