From Staff Reports

A one-unit gain snapped a string of weekly losses in the U.S. tally of rigs at work, ending a significant string of losses. The number seeking oil jumped by six, the first increase in six weeks.

In its weekly report Friday, Baker Hughes said the combined count of rigs drilling for oil and natural gas rose to 935. A year ago, 1,057 were at work.

The number of active oil rigs increased to 770, while the number exploring for gas fell four, to 165. Miscellaneous rigs fell by one, leaving none in that category.

The number of oil rigs at work is now down 99 from a year ago, while the number of gas rigs is down 21.

The oil rig count, an indicator of future output, has declined over the past eight months as oil companies cut spending on new drilling to focus on earnings growth instead of increased output.

Despite fewer rigs at work, U.S. production is up significantly year over year, according to government data, as productivity has increased in most basins.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration this week projected U.S. crude output from seven major shale formations would increase by 85,000 barrels per day in September to a record 8.77 million barrels per day.

In total, the administration projected U.S. oil production would rise to 12.27 million barrels per day in 2019 from a record 10.99 million in 2018.

U.S. crude futures traded below $55 per barrel Friday, putting the contract on track to gain for the day and to notch the first weekly gain in three weeks.

Texas and West Virginia both lost four rigs this week. That left Texas with 450 at work and West Virginia with 16. Ohio lost three, to 12, and Oklahoma lost one, to 85.

More states were on the plus side of the ledger: Pennsylvania added four, to 41, and Louisiana added three, to 62. New Mexico gained two, to 111. North Dakota and Wyoming gained one apiece, to 48 and 37, respectively.

By major basin, the West Texas-New Mexico Permian lost three, leaving 441 at work. South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale added one, to 67.

Oklahoma’s Cana Woodford and DJ Niobrara added one apiece, to 46 and 30, respectively. North Dakota’s Williston also added one, to 48.