Oil Rig Count Slips by 4, Total Now Up 451 Year Over Year

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In the week ended August 25, 2017, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States totaled 759, down by four compared with the prior week and up by 353 compared with a total of 406 a year ago. Including 180 other rigs drilling for natural gas and one listed as miscellaneous, there are a total of 940 working rigs in the country, down week over week by six and up by 451 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 $47.43 a barrel, down about 2.2% on Thursday. Crude prices were trading up about 0.5% Friday afternoon at around $47.63 and rose to around $47.68 after the rig count data were released.

The natural gas rig count decreased by two to a total of 180. The count for natural gas rigs is now up by 99 year over year. Natural gas for October delivery traded down about 1.8% at around $2.92 per million BTUs before the count was released and remained essentially flat afterward.

The oil rig count is down for the second straight week and that, combined with the threats to the Gulf production region from Hurricane Harvey, is lifting crude oil prices somewhat on Friday. Gasoline prices are seeing the most upward pressure as a result of refinery shutdowns in the Corpus Christi area.

Among the states, Pennsylvania and Texas each lost three rigs, while Alaska, Oklahoma and Utah lost one rig each. Louisiana, North Dakota and Ohio each added one rig this week.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count now stands at 377, unchanged compared with the previous week’s count. The Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas has 74 rigs in operation, one less, week over week. And the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana now has 52 working rigs, up one for the week.