US Oil Rig Count Drops by 1,Total Rigs Down by 4

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In the week ended October 27, 2017, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States totaled 737, one more compared with the prior week and up by 296 compared with a total of 441 a year ago. Including 172 other rigs drilling for natural gas, there are a total of 909 working rigs in the country, four fewer week over week and up by 352 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 December delivery settled at $52.64 a barrel on Thursday and traded up more than 2% Friday afternoon at $52.80 shortly before regular trading closed.

The natural gas rig count decreased by five to a total of 172 this week. The count for natural gas rigs is now up by 58 year over year. Natural gas for December delivery traded down about 2.7% at around $2.97 per million BTUs before the count was released and moved only fractionally later on.

The price for Brent crude topped $60 a barrel for the first time in more than two years. Brent traded at $60.26 a barrel briefly in Friday’s trading on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Crude prices have risen as the production cuts from OPEC and its partners have succeeded in draining some of the stockpile glut around the world.

U.S. production remains high as producers and refiners alike take advantage of the $6.00 or so per barrel discount on WTI crude to sell both more crude and more refined products to buyers in Europe and Asia.

Among the states, Texas gained five rigs this week while Oklahoma and Wyoming added one rig each. Louisiana lost three rigs while North Dakota and West Virginia each lost two. Five states lost one rig each: Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count now stands at 379, one more compared with the previous week’s count. The Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas has 65 rigs in operation, unchanged week over week, and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana now has 49 working rigs, down two for the week.