The number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil and natural gas fell for a fourth straight week as drillers shut down five oil-directed rigs and three that had been seeking natural gas.
In its weekly report Friday, Baker Hughes said only New Mexico saw a statewide increase in the past week. The U.S. total fell by eight rigs, led by declines in North Dakota, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Ohio.
The West Texas-New Mexico Permian Basin was the nation’s only major play to add more than one rig in the past week. Its count increased by three, all in New Mexico, pushing its tally to 443.
Statewide, New Mexico added two rigs and now has 109 rigs at work, growing its lead over No. 2 Oklahoma, where a two-rig loss left it with 93.
Louisiana lost four rigs, to 62.
Texas easily remains the rig count leader with 454 active drilling rigs, nearly half of the nation’s total. Its total was unchanged from a week ago.
Of the nation’s total combined tally of 946 rigs, 776 are primarily drilling for oil and 169 natural gas. A year ago this week, the combined total was 1,048, with 861 seeking oil and 186 seeking gas.
The total rig count remains near its lowest point since the beginning of 2018 as drilling activity has been hit by oil prices that plunged more than 40 percent late last year.
North Dakota’s Williston Basin lost eight rigs, leaving 47 at work there. South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale lost one rig, to 66, while the East Texas-Louisiana Haynesville Shale was flat on 51.
For the month, the rig count dropped by 17, its biggest decline since March. That put the count down for an eighth straight month, its longest losing streak since May 2016.
Total U.S. crude output, however, is still expected to rise to a record 12.36 million barrels per day this year, topping the current annual all-time high of 10.96 million barrels per day in 2018, according to the latest projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
U.S. crude was trading for about $56 per barrel, on track to rise about 1% for the week as geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and concerns over the safety of oil transport in the Persian Gulf countered slowing U.S. economic growth amid a U.S.-China trade war.