From Staff Reports

The number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell to the lowest level since February 2018 as drillers cut spending as crude prices collapsed to a four-month low.

Eleven oil-directed rigs were taken out of service, Baker Hughes said Friday in its weekly report, bringing the total to 789. A year ago at this time, 862 oil rigs were at work.

Nationwide, the total combined count of oil and natural gas rigs fell by nine, including six rigs taken out of the booming Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico. Including one rig shut down in South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale, Texas lost seven rigs for the week, the Houston-based oil field services company said.

Despite the latest declines, Texas and the Permian continue dominating the industry. Texas now has 473 active rigs, nearly half of the nation’s total. And the Permian’s 446 rigs account for 57 percent of all U.S. rigs drilling for crude oil.

Of the total 975 rigs at work across the country, 186 were drilling primarily for gas. That’s up two from a week ago and down a dozen from a year ago.

While Texas lost rigs, Louisiana added four, to 68, making it the week’s only gainer. New Mexico was flat on 101 and Oklahoma lost one, also finishing with 101 at work.

The East Texas-Louisiana Haynesville Shale gained two rigs, to 53. The Panhandle’s Granite Wash added one, to eight.

U.S. crude futures fell below $51 per barrel in the past week, their lowest since January on worries a stalling global economy and an intensifying trade war between the United States and China could cut demand for oil.

Despite the declines, U.S. production continues to climb due to increasingly efficient drilling technology.

The latest government data showed an almost 2 million barrel per day increase.

Booming U.S. oil production is keeping prices in check, reaching another all-time high of 12.4 million barrels per day during the week ending May 31, according to U.S. data.