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U.S. Rig Count Rises Alongside Oil Prices

  • The number of active drilling rigs in the United States rose by 2 this week.
  • Oil-directed rigs were up by 1 to 481, while gas-directed rigs were up by 1 to 107.

The number of active drilling rigs in the United States rose by 2 this week, keeping the total rig count at 588, as oil prices remain strong despite the fresh wave of Covid-19 cases brought by the new variant of the coronavirus amid several oil disruptions around the globe, including in Libya, Ecuador, and Kazahkstan.

Last week's count compared with an unchanged rig count of 586 during the previous week.

Baker Hughes reported the total active rig figure was 228 rigs higher than the rig count this time in 2021.

Oil-directed rigs were up by 1 to 481, while gas-directed rigs were up by 1 to 107.

Oil production in the U.S. last week—the last week of 2021—stood at 11.8 million bpd for the second week in a row, according to the Energy Information Administration. This is up from 11 million bpd at the beginning of 2021.

While U.S. production remains on an upward trend, oil drillers remain cautious in their production growth plans and more focused on returning cash to investors.

The rig count in the Permian Basin decreased by 1 again this week. The number of rigs in the nation's second most prolific basin, the Eagle Ford, saw no change to the number of active rigs for the second week in a row. The Permian's total rig count is now 292, with 44 total in the Eagle Ford.

Primary Vision's Frac Spread Count, which tracks the number of completion crews finishing off previously drilled wells, shows that completion crews fell by 10 this week to 234 for week ending December 31, for the fifth dip in a row. The frac spread is now down 40 over the last five weeks.

At 9:55 a.m. EDT, oil prices were trending down on the day. WTI was trading at $79.28—down 0.23% on the day but up nearly $4 on the week. The Brent benchmark traded at $81.98, down 0.01% on the day but up nearly $4 on the week.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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