The number of active drilling rigs in the United States remained unchanged this week, keeping the total rig count at 586, as oil prices remain relatively strong despite the fresh wave of Covid-19 cases brought by the new variant of the coronavirus.
Last week’s count compared with a rig count rise of 7 for the previous week, which brought the total to 586.
Baker Hughes reported the total active rig figure was 235 rigs higher than the rig count this time last year when the oil industry was just beginning to recover from the worst blows of the pandemic. Yet it was still far from the rig count numbers from before the pandemic.
Oil production in the U.S. last week stood at 11.8 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration. That was up from 11.6 million bpd for the previous week and the highest level since May 2020.
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 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. The Permian's total rig count is now 293, 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 12 this week to 244 for week ending December 23, for the fourth dip in a row. The frac count is up by roughly 100 since the start of the year.
At 8:28 a.m. EDT, oil prices were trending down on the day. WTI was trading at $75.56—down 1.86% on the day but up nearly $5 on the week. The Brent benchmark traded at $78.30, down 1.55% on the day but up $5 on the week.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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