From Staff Reports
The number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil increased for the first time in the past three weeks as U.S. crude futures jumped about 10 percent this week.
In its weekly report Friday, Baker Hughes said U.S. drillers added one oil rig in the past week, bringing the total to 789. That’s down from 862 in the same week a year ago.
Texas lost four rigs, leaving 463 at work. It was the state’s fifth-straight week of losses.
The rig count, an early indicator of future output, has been declining over the past six months as independent exploration and production companies cut spending on new drilling to focus on earnings growth instead of increased output.
U.S. benchmark crude was trading around $57 per barrel after the report, putting it up about 10 percent for the week .
Before this week, U.S. crude had slipped about 20 percent from a five-month high of $75.60 a barrel in late April. Natural gas, meanwhile, has traded near three-year lows since late May.
The total combined count of oil and gas rigs was down two for the week, Baker Hughes said, as the number seeking gas slipped by four to 177, and one rig was classified as miscellaneous.
It was the sixth decline in the combined count in seven weeks.
After the Lone Star State’s four-rig drop, Oklahoma and New Mexico lost one apiece, leaving an even 100 at work in both states. Pennsylvania lost a pair, to 37.
Gains were seen in Alaska, which added four to make nine at work, and West Virginia, which added two 21. Louisiana was flat on 70.
By major basin, the West Texas-New Mexico Permian lost a pair to 439, and the Panhandle’s Granite Wash also saw two rigs shut down, leaving six there. Other Texas-related plays were unchanged.
Oklahoma’s Cana Woodford added one, to 45.
Despite this year’s declines, U.S. production is still almost 2 million barrels per day higher than a year ago, a fact that’s helped keep prices in check.
Production fell back slightly for a second straight week, the government said, to 12.2 million barrels per day after recently reaching an all-time high of 12.4 million barrels per day.