US Oil Rig Count Remains Flat, Prices on Track for 3.5% Loss for the Week

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In the week ending September 7, 2018, the number of land rigs drilling for oil in the United States totaled 860, two less than a week ago and up by 104 compared with a total of 756 a year ago. Including 186 other land rigs drilling for natural gas and two listed as miscellaneous, there are a total of 1,048 working rigs in the country, unchanged week over week and up by 104 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 October delivery settled at $67.77 a barrel on Thursday and traded down about 0.5% Friday afternoon at around $67.42 shortly before regular trading closed. WTI was on track to close the week down by around 2%. Brent crude for November delivery traded at $76.38 a barrel, down about 0.1% for the day.

The natural gas rig count rose by two to come in at 186 this week. The count for natural gas rigs is now down by one year over year. Natural gas for October delivery traded down about 0.1%, at around $2.77 per million BTUs, down by $0.15 compared to last Friday and down about 4.5% for the week.

In its weekly petroleum market roundup published Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that U.S. exports of crude oil and petroleum products averaged 7.3 million barrels a day in the first six months of this year. Crude oil is now the largest of all U.S. petroleum-related exports with daily exports averaging 1.76 million barrels. In the first half of 2017, crude oil exports totaled 980,000 barrels a day. Exports of U.S. crude, banned in 1975, resumed in January 2016.

Among the states, Baker Hughes reports Louisiana added three rigs and Louisiana gained two rigs this week. Alaska and North Dakota each added one rig. New Mexico and Oklahoma lost two rigs each, while Kansas and Utah each had one less.

In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count now stands at 484, down two compared with the previous week’s count. The Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas has 78 rigs in operation, unchanged week over week, and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana has 53 working rigs, or one more for the week.

Producers added one horizontal rig this week, and the count rose to 918, while offshore drillers reported a total of 17 rigs, a gain of one compared with the previous week’s count.