From Staff Reports
Led by another weekly loss in Oklahoma, the number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil and natural gas continued to slide in the past week, pushing totals to their lowest in 18 months. Texas gained one.
In its weekly report Friday, Baker Hughes said the nationwide combined count finished the week down four, to 942. That was 102 less than the same week a year ago.
The number of rigs drilling for oil was down six, to 770. A year ago, 859 were at work. Drillers added two gas rigs, making 171 at work. That’s a dozen fewer than a year ago.
Oil prices, which had taken a beating a day earlier when President Trump’s latest threat of additional tariffs on China goods added to concerns of economic slowdown, rebounded a bit Friday. The gains were a reaction both to declining crude inventories in the U.S. and hope for further declines with fewer rigs at work.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 3.2 percent to close at $55.66 per barrel in New York. It wasn’t enough to erase Thursday’s 8 percent loss, and the contract finished the week down 1 percent.
Brent, the international benchmark, gained 2.3 percent to close at $61.89 in London, still down more than 2 percent for the week.
Oklahoma lost five rigs, taking its total to 88, while Texas added one, to make 455 at work. It was the state’s first weekly gain in five weeks. New Mexico lost two, leaving 107 at work there. Louisiana lost one, to 61.
Alaska was the week’s big gainer, with a three-rig increase making an even dozen rigs at work there.
By major basin, the East Texas-Louisiana Haynesville Shale saw the week’s only gain. A one-rig increase made 52 at work there.
The Pahandle’s Granite Wash lost two, leaving two at work.
The West Texas-New Mexico Permian Basin lost one, leaving 442 rigs at work in the nation’s must active play. Oklahoma’s Cana Woodford also lost one, to 48.