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Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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Oil Steady At $50 Amid Falling U.S. Oil Rig Count

The number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States fell this week by 1 rig.  

The total oil and gas rig count in the United States now stands at 935 rigs, up 424 rigs from the year prior, with the number of oil rigs in the United States decreasing by 5 this week and the number of natural gas rigs increasing by 4. 

Canada’s rig count additions appears to be leveling off, and despite its large swings in the number of active rigs on a weekly basis, has roughly the same number of oil rigs in operation that it had back at the end of July. Canada’s natural gas rigs, on the other hand, are still upwardly mobile, climbing by almost 30 rigs since mid-June. This week, Canada added 10 oil rigs for the week ending September 22, and lost 2 gas rigs.

Oil rigs in the United States now number 744—326 rigs above this time last year. Although the number of oil rigs are still up significantly year on year, the increases slowed in the Q2 2017, and have reversed in Q3. The first quarter 2017 saw 137 oil rigs added in the United States, while the second quarter 2017 saw 97 rigs added. In stark contrast, the third quarter, for which there is still one week to go, has seen the total number of rigs decrease by 12. The signs are clear—US drillers are no longer adding rigs at breakneck paces, despite the rise in oil prices.

The spot price for WTI fell earlier on Friday, down 0.12% to $50.49 at 12:10pm. Brent crude, however, was trading up 0.18% on the day at $56.53—the second week in a row that Brent was up while WTI was down. Related: Expect A Major Leap In U.S. Oil Exports

All eyes are on OPEC as well as the Baker Hughes rig count today, and while OPEC has concluded its meeting, it has left the market wanting. Both Russia and OPEC, post-meeting, assured the market that it had won the battle over the oil glut, but pushed out until November the decision on whether it should extend the production cuts beyond March 2018. The disappointment from the lack of decision regarding the output cut was tempered as few expected such decisive action. What little disappointment did exist was likely already priced into the market. Both OPEC and Russia added that they were about halfway finished with clearing the global oil glut, and encouraged members to remain vigilant and set upon their task of reining in production.

At 10 minutes after the hour, WTI was trading at $50.46 with Brent crude trading at $56.60—both up from last week.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com


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