Baker Hughes this week reported yet another increase in the U.S. oil and gas rig count, with 5 more rigs coming online. The previous two weeks have seen increases of 16 and 13 rigs respectively, bringing the total number of active rigs to 658. The U.S. is now just 40 rigs below the count this time last year as North-American E&P companies are reacting on the OPEC agreement which has already bumped up oil prices to 18-month highs.
More specific, Baker Hughes sees the U.S. oil rig count increasing by just two rigs while the gas rig count added 3 rigs amid rapidly rising natural gas prices. The Permian basin counted 2 more oil rigs this week while the Eagle Ford added one rig.
The U.S. rig count is poised to grow further as the last credit redetermination period showed that the industry has already passed an inflection point, meaning that banks are more eager to issue new credit to drillers. While banks were reluctant to open the money tap earlier this year, rising oil prices and an improved outlook for U.S. shale drillers are reason enough for banks to expand credit facilities once again.
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Oil prices continued to trade slightly lower following the rig count release, with WTI trading 0,37 percent down at $53.57 and Brent trading 0,44 percent down at $56.58 at the time of writing.
By Tom Kool of Oilprice.com
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