US Oil Rig Count Jumps by 11; Crude Price Sinks

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In the week ended April 6, 2018, the number of land rigs drilling for oil in the United States totaled 808, 11 more than in the previous week and up by 136 compared with a total of 672 a year ago. Including 194 other land rigs drilling for natural gas and one listed as miscellaneous, there are a total of 1,003 working rigs in the country, a gain of 10 for the week and up by 164 year over year. The data come from the latest Baker Hughes North American Rotary Rig Count, released on Friday afternoon.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for May delivery settled at $63.54 a barrel on Thursday and traded down about 1.8% Friday afternoon at $62.41 shortly before regular trading closed.

The natural gas rig count was unchanged at 194 this week. The count for natural gas rigs is now up by 29 year over year. Natural gas for May delivery traded about 0.9% higher at around $2.70 per million BTUs, down about four cents since last Friday.

Baker Hughes also reported March international rig count figures this morning. Excluding the United States and Canada, there were a total of 972 drilling rigs working last month, seven fewer than the February total and up by 29 year over year for the month. The total rig count for the United States and Canada was 1,207 in March, down 85 month over month and 165 more than a year ago.

Among the states, Baker Hughes reported that Oklahoma gained five rigs this week; Texas and Kansas each gained two; and four states each had one more — North Dakota, Ohio, Utah and West Virginia. Louisiana lost two rigs during the week, and four states lost one each — Alaska, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count now stands at 444, one more compared with the previous week’s count. The Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas has 73 rigs in operation, also up by one week over week, and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana now has 55 working rigs, a gain of for the week.

Producers added 14 new horizontal rigs this week and the count rose to 884 while offshore drillers reported no weekly change to the offshore total of 12, down 10 compared to last year’s total of 22 for the same period.