From Staff Reports
The number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil and natural gas fell again in the past week, led by a three-rig decline in the Permian Basin.
In its weekly report Friday, Baker Hughes said 983 rigs were at work across the nation, down four from the previous week. Of those, 797 were drilling primarily for oil. That was down five from a week ago. Another 186 were drilling for gas, up one.
The total rig count is at the lowest level since March 2018, and the tally in Texas, which fell by one in the past week, is down more than 50 in the past six months.
At 481, the Lone Star State still has about half the nation’s total rigs.
New Mexico saw drillers shut down four, leaving 99 at work there. Oklahoma was flat on 103 and Louisiana also held steady with 63 active rigs. Colorado lost two, to 31.
By major basin, the biggest decline was in the West Texas-New Mexico Permian, which has 451 rigs working. South Texas’ Eagle Ford gained one, to 75, while the East Texas-Louisiana Haynesville Shale was flat on 50.
In Oklahoma, the Cana Woodford dropped three, to 45, and the DJ Niobrara lost one, leaving 29 at work.
Outside the Eagle Ford, gains were seen in the Northeast’s Marcellus Shale, where a two-rig gain pushed the tally to 62. North Dakota’s Williston added one, to 57.
Though crude oil prices have rebounded after a late-2018 collapse, drilling rig movement typically lags prices by several weeks. Volatile pricing, global economic and trade war concerns also have unnerved investors and energy companies, making them hesitant to increase spending.
Still, the government said U.S. oil production was up slightly for week ending May 17, coming in at 12.2 million barrels per day, just shy of the April 26 record high of 12.3 million barrels per day.
Year to date, the oil rig count has fallen from 877 active rigs on Jan. 4 to 797. The number of gas rigs has fallen to 186 from 198 in the same period.