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The Rig Count Climbs As Markets Clamor For More Oil

  • The rig count has increased once again, hitting levels not seen since April 2020.
  • Russia's invasion of Ukraine has only added to the demand for drilling, with the rig count climbing by 48 in nine weeks.
  • Oil rigs climbed by three this week while gas rigs remained the same.

The number of total active drilling rigs in the United States rose by 3 this week, after an increase of 2 rigs in the week prior, according to new data from Baker Hughes published on Friday.

The total rig count increased to 698 this week—258 rigs higher than the rig count this time in 2021 and the highest count since April 2020. Drilling has picked up substantially since the Russia invasion, adding 48 rigs over the last nine weeks.

Oil rigs in the United States rose this week by 3 rigs to 552, while gas rigs stayed the same at 144. Miscellaneous rigs also stayed the same, at 2.

The rig count in the Permian Basin added a single rig this week, bringing the total to 335, while rigs in the Eagle Ford stayed the same.  

U.S. crude oil production stayed at 11.9 million bpd during the week ending April 22, according to the latest Energy Information Administration—a 300,000 bpd rise since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Costs for drillers have risen in the U.S. shale patch—just one of many factors preventing U.S. drillers from ramping up production quickly.

In the Permian, the most prolific basin in the United States, supply chain issues and an acute worker shortage have been plaguing the industry, along with unpredictable long-term demand, oil price volatility, and an uncertain regulatory environment.

Nevertheless, Permian rigs have made substantial gains since the sharp dropoff in 2020 following the Covid-19 lockdowns and subsequent demand destruction, recovering to xxx percent from the low of 117 rigs in August 2020 to xxx rigs now. The data shows that oil companies are indeed drilling new oil and gas wells—but there is a natural and unavoidable lag between drilling new wells and actual production.

Rig Count

At 11:56 a.m. ET, oil prices were trending up on the day as oil supply fears outweighed China's covid lockdowns that are threatening to diminish demand. WTI was trading at $106.60—up $1.27 per barrel (+1.21%) on the day and up more than $4 on the week. The Brent benchmark traded at $109.70 per barrel, up $2.10 (+1.95%) on the day and $3 on the week.

At 1:10pm ET, WTI had risen to $106.80, while Brent was trading at $109.70.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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