HOUSTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Baker Hughes said Friday the number of oil wells counted inland in the United States in the fourth quarter declined but drilling efficiency improved.
The oil services company, which has headquarters in Houston, issued a report saying the number of wells inland was 9,056, 19 fewer than the number recorded during the previous quarter.
Despite the quarter-to-quarter decline, Baker Hughes said the well count for the final quarter was up 5 percent year-on-year.
"Due to improved drilling efficiencies, the average U.S. onshore drilling rig now produces 9 percent more wells compared to the same quarter last year," the report said.
Baker Hughes said the number of wells counted in the Eagle Ford, Mississippian and Marcellus shale basins increased but that gain was offset by declines in the Fayetteville and Granite Wash basins.
New drilling technologies used in shale formations in the United States are credited with the increase in oil production.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration, a division of the Energy Department, said U.S. oil production should reach 8.5 million barrels per day this year. The 9.5 million bpd expected in 2015 would break a record set in 1972.