Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes is ringing in the new year with a 7-rig increase this week to the number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States, bring the total number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States to 665, with the oil rig count up to its highest point in a year.
This week marks 11 straight weeks of oil rig increases, and 9 straight weeks of gas rig increases.
The final week of 2016 saw the number of oil and gas rigs increase by 7, with oil rigs accounting for 4 of the 7. That week saw 525 total oil rigs in production compared to 536 oil rigs operating in the last week of 2015, erasing almost completely the substantial losses earlier in the year when the oil rig count plummeted to 316 in May.
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Although the recovery in the last quarter of 2016 erased earlier losses from earlier in the year, the oil rig count is still tragically below 2014 figures, when the number of oil rigs sat comfortably above 1,500.
2016’s rig count recovery was largely inspired by OPEC’s successful drive to lift oil prices out of the doldrums to near $55 by promising to curb production, with U.S. drillers equally enjoying higher oil prices—although the term “higher” is relative, with oil prices still well below the over-$100 per barrel price tag last seen in mid-2014.
Drillers in the United States have been slowly increasing the number of active drilling rigs, commiserate with the rebounding oil price, most notably since the OPEC agreement on November 30 that saw OPEC agree to cut back production to 32.5 million bpd.
WTI was trading up .52% at $54.04 an hour before the data release, with Brent at $57.10, up 0.37%. Immediately after the rig count release, WTI was sitting at US$53.97, and Brent at US$57.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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