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Julianne Geiger

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Oil Prices Fall As U.S. Rig Count Rises For 20th Straight Week

The number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States rose for the twentieth straight week, Baker Hughes reported on Friday—this time by 8, as drillers in the US make do with current barrel prices even below $50.

The number of oil rigs in operation increased by 11, while gas rigs decreased by 3. Combined, the total oil and gas rig count in the US now stands at 916 rigs—more than double the number of rigs in operation a year ago, when WTI barrel prices were about $49.05—higher than today’s price per barrel for WTI.

Say what they will about rebalancing the oil market—even if they say it again and again—OPEC and its non-OPEC counterparts have been unable to swing prices (and keep them) near $60 per barrel. Undeterred and even seemingly satisfied with the current pricing environment, shale players in the US are showing no signs of stopping, adding 256 oil rigs since December 2, shortly after OPEC announced its agreement.

(Click to enlarge)

These weekly US rig count increases may soon taper off if oil prices continue to go nowhere—an event that may itself lift prices, triggering another round of investments in the shale patch. Related: Will Self-Driving Oil Rigs Hit The Market Before Self-Driving Cars?

At 12:40pm EST on Friday, WTI was trading down .99% for the day at $47.88—almost $1.50 lower than last week’s pre-rig count price at $49.39. Brent Crude was trading down 0.91% at that time at $50.17, down $1.65 from last week’s $51.82 price.

By basin, the Permian added 2 rigs, and now boasts 364 rigs in operation—222 rigs over a year ago. DJ-Niobrara, Utica, and Williston basins all added a rig, while Marcellus and Mississippian lost 2 and 1 respectively.

By 1:13pm EST, WTI was trading at $47.83 and Brent at $50.13.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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