US Oil Rig Count Jumps by 9, Price Up More Than 2% for the Week

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In the week ended November 10, 2017, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States totaled 738, nine more compared with the prior week and up by 286 compared with a total of 452 a year ago. Including 169 other rigs drilling for natural gas, there are a total of 907 working rigs in the country, nine more week over week and up by 339 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 $57.17 a barrel on Thursday and traded down about 0.7% Friday afternoon at $56.75 shortly before regular trading closed Friday.

The natural gas rig count remained unchanged with a total of 169 this week. The count for natural gas rigs is now up by 54 year over year. Natural gas for December delivery traded down about 0.1% at around $3.20 per million BTUs before the count was released and moved up less than a penny following the report’s release.

The January ICE delivery price for Brent crude peaked at a high of $64.27 a barrel on Thursday, November 6. Brent traded at $63.55 late Friday in London.

The differential between Brent and WTI clocked in at about $6.80 a barrel after the rig count report was released. The wide spread between the two benchmark varieties encourages exporting crude from the United States, particularly to South America and Europe.

Among the states, Oklahoma added six rigs this week, New Mexico added four rigs, while Alaska and Utah each added one. Texas lost two rigs and West Virginia lost one.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count now stands at 386, six more compared with the previous week’s count. The Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas has 67 rigs in operation, two more week over week, and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana now has 48 working rigs, unchanged for the week.