Energy Economy

US Drilling Rig Shutdowns Continue

Oil drilling rig
Source: Thinkstock
In the week ended February 6, the total number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States came in at 1,140, down from 1,223 in the prior week and 1,416 a year ago. Including 316 other rigs mostly drilling for natural gas, there are a total of 1,456 working rigs in the country, down 87 week-over-week and 315 year-over-year. The data come from the latest Baker Hughes North American Rotary Rig Count.

The number of rigs drilling for oil fell by 276 year-over-year and by 83 week-over-week. The natural gas rig count declined by five to 314 week-over-week and by 37 year-over-year.

The two states losing the most rigs were Texas (down 41) and North Dakota (down 11). Colorado lost eight and Oklahoma lost seven. No rigs were added in any state last week.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas, the rig count dropped by 37 to bring the total down to 417; the Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas lost 10 rigs and now has 168 working; and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana has 137 working rigs, down 11 from the prior week.

As of Friday, the posted price for Williston Basin sweet crude had risen from $31.94 a barrel a week ago to $35.44 on Friday, and Williston sour rose from $22.83 to $26.33 a barrel. Eagle Ford Light crude sold for $48.25 a barrel, up from $44.25 on the previous Friday, and the same price as West Texas Intermediate (WTI).

Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE BHI) also said last week that it will close a plant in Louisiana and chop 60 jobs, a tiny portion of the 7,000 job cuts the company plans for the first quarter of 2015.

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