Oil Rig Count Drops by 7, Total Rigs Now Up 430 Year Over Year

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In the week ended September 15, 2017, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States totaled 749, down by seven compared with the prior week and up by 333 compared with a total of 416 a year ago. Including 186 other rigs drilling for natural gas and one listed as miscellaneous, there are a total of 936 working rigs in the country, eight fewer week over week and up by 430 year over year. The data come from the latest Baker Hughes North American Rotary Rig Count released on Friday.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for October delivery settled at $49.89 a barrel, up about 1.1% on Thursday. Crude prices were trading down about 0.4% Friday afternoon at around $49.70 and ticked down to $49.69 after the rig count data were released.

The natural gas rig count decreased by one to a total of 186 this week. The count for natural gas rigs is now up by 97 year over year. Natural gas for October delivery traded down about 1.7% at around $3.02 per million BTUs before the count was released and remained essentially flat afterward.

The oil rig count posted a sharp drop this week, with Texas and Louisiana taking the brunt of the decline. Interestingly the total number of horizontal wells rose by two last week to 795 of the 936 total wells working. Canada added 10 new oil wells last week, bringing that country’s total rig count to 212 and the North American total to 1,148, more than double the 510 working rigs at the same time last year.

Among the states, Texas and Louisiana lost three rigs each this week while Colorado, New Mexico and North Dakota lost one each. Only West Virginia added a rig during the week.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count now stands at 380, down by two compared with the previous week’s count. The Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas has 71 rigs in operation, also down two week over week, and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana now has 52 working rigs, down one for the week.