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Rig Count Inches Lower As Oil Prices Stabilize

Baker Hughes reported a dip of two in the oil and gas rig count in the United States this week, bringing the total number of active oil and gas rigs to 1,052 according to the report, with the number of active oil rigs decreasing by 2 to reach 861 and the number of gas rigs holding steady at 189.

The oil and gas rig count is now 116 up from this time last year.

At 12:30pm. EDT on Friday, WTI Crude was trading up 0.35 percent at $74.59—up more than $1 from last week and at highs not seen since near the end of 2014. Brent Crude was trading up on the day by 0.17 percent at $84.72 up over $2 per barrel from this time last week.

Prices climbed on persistent fears that US sanctions on Iran will take off more barrels of oil than other suppliers can make up for, although analysts are insistent that the fears are overblown, and numerous bearish signals in the industry have been insufficient to keep prices from rising ever higher.

Bearish events in the industry include India’s reports that it is thinking about ditching the dollar for oil trades, which would allow the second largest importer of crude oil the ability to continue to purchase oil from Iran. If India pulls this off, it would ease the “tight market” that is causing the oil prices to remain high. Other bearish signs, also related to India, were reports that India has plans to purchase 9 million barrels of oil from Iran in November, contrary to earlier reports that led the market to believe India had no plans to do so.

Canada’s oil and gas rigs for the week gained 4 rigs this week after losing 19 rigs last week, bringing its total oil and gas rig count to 182, which is 27 fewer rigs than this time last year, with a 3-rig decrease for oil rigs, and a 7-rig increase for gas rigs.

On the production side, the EIA’s estimates for US production for the week ending September 28 were for an average of 11.10 million bpd for the second week in a row.

By 1:08pm EDT, WTI was trading up 0.65% (+$0.48) at $74.81. Brent crude was trading up 0.24% (+$0.20) at $84.78 per barrel.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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