Energy Economy

US Drilling Rig Count Dropped by 84 in the Past Week

Drilling Rig
Source: Thinkstock
In the week ended February 13, the total number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States came in at 1,056, compared with 1,140 in the prior week and 1,423 a year ago. Including 302 other rigs mostly drilling for natural gas, there are a total of 1,764 working rigs in the United States, down 98 week-over-week and down 406 year-over-year. The data come from the latest Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) North American Rotary Rig Count.

The number of rigs drilling for oil fell by 367 year-over-year and by 84 week-over-week. The natural gas rig count declined by 14 to 300 week-over-week and by 37 year-over-year.

The two states losing the most rigs were Texas (down 56) and New Mexico (down 12). Colorado lost six and Oklahoma lost five. One rig was added in Louisiana last week.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count dropped by 49 to bring the total down to 368; the Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas lost four rigs and now has 164 working; and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana has 128 working rigs, down nine from the prior week.

Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) last week announced sharp cuts in the number of rigs it will operate in 2015. Last year Apache operated an average of 40 rigs in the Permian Basin and expects to operate just 10 to 12 rigs there in 2015. In the company’s central region, which comprises the Texas panhandle and parts of Oklahoma, the rig count will drop from 28 to two or three. In the Eagle Ford play of south Texas, the average number of rigs will fall from nine to one or two. Apache will also chop all eight of its 2014 Canadian rig count. From a North American onshore average total of 85 rigs in 2014, Apache is planning average just 12 to 14 rigs in 2015.

Even given the dramatic cut in operated rigs, Apache expects total daily production to be about equal to 2014’s 302,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

As of Friday, the posted price for Williston Basin sweet crude had risen from $35.44 a barrel a week ago to $36.44 on Friday, and Williston sour rose from $26.33 a barrel to $27.33 a barrel. Eagle Ford Light crude sold for $49.25 a barrel, up from $48.25 on the previous Friday, and the same price as WTI.

ALSO READ: Merrill Lynch Boosts Outlook on Apache Corp.