The international offshore rig count for March 2013 was 316, down seven February but up 13 from March 2012, according to a regular count by US services giant Baker Hughes.
North America saw a drop in active rigs over this time last year, with 223 fewer rigs active in the United States last month, an 11.2% drop year on year.
Most of the drop related to land rigs, but active offshore units also fell from 51 to 43.
The number of Canadian active rigs was down sharply on February 2013 from 642 to 464, a fall of 27%, but down only 28 on the 492 active in March 2012.
Elsewhere, both land and offshore rigs saw increased activity in Europe with 53 active offshore units compared to 42 this time last year, and 80 active land rigs, up 13.
Latin America and Asia Pacific were broadly level with this time last year Africa and the Middle East both saw boosted land rig activity while offshore activity fell slightly in both regions.
Syria has been excluded from the count since February, while Iraq was not part of last March’s total.
*Bill Lehane, Upstreamonline