The number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil and natural gas continued falling in the past week as crude prices sputtered mainly on U.S.-China trade tensions.
After the latest six-rig decline led by losses in West Texas, the number of rigs at work is at its lowest level since early 2018.
In its weekly report Friday, Baker Hughes said drillers shut down five oil-directed rigs and one that had been seeking natural gas.
The combined count is down by 90 rigs from a year ago, when oil prices were near $67 a barrel and rising. The total U.S. rig count finished the week at 969, the lowest since February 2018.
Crude prices have fallen in recent weeks over concerns about a slowing global economy, weakening energy demand and increasing U.S. production, which is now averaging more than 12 million barrels a day, according to U.S. data. That’s up more than 2 million barrels per day from a year ago.
Though prices settled higher Friday for a second straight day, it wasn’t enough to push crude into positive territory for the week.
Benchmark U.S. crude finished the week down nearly 3 percent, at $52.51 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, also gained Friday but finished the week down 2 percent, at $62.01 per barrel in London.
Texas was the week’s big loser, dropping six rigs to leave 467 at work. Louisiana gained two, to finish with 70 at work. Oklahoma and New Mexico both were flat on 101.
Reflecting Texas’ losses, the West Texas-New Mexico Permian Basin saw five rigs taken out of service, leaving 441 at work there.
A year ago, 476 were at work there.
One rig was shut down in South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale, leaving 73 at work. Counts were flat in all other major basins, including the East Texas-Louisiana Haynesville Shale, where 53 rigs are working.