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U.S. Oil Rig Count Falls As Prices Slide

The the number of active oil and gas rigs fell in the United States again this week according to Baker Hughes, despite record-breaking production for the week ending February 22—the second week in a row.

The total number of active oil and gas drilling rigs fell by 9 rigs­, according to the report, with the number of active oil rigs falling by 10 to reach 843 and the number of gas rigs gaining 1 to reach 195.

The oil and gas rig count is now just 57 up from this time last year, 43 of which is in oil rigs.

Oil prices were trading up early on Friday as a China-United States trade deal was rumored imminent, with a 150-page document in the works containing the nitty gritty of a deal. Oil prices later crashed, however, with both WTI and Brent falling by more than 2% in the afternoon trading hours as US manufacturing data painted an unfavorable picture of global energy demand growth. Even Reuters’ survey data that showed OPEC’s oil production dropped to a four-year low in February was unable to lift prices in the afternoon hours.

WTI was trading down $1.36 (-2.38%) at $55.86, while Brent was trading down $1.41 (2.13%) at $64.90 at 12:52pm EST—down dollars week on week as well. Another bearish force is US crude oil production, which hit yet another record for week ending February 22 at 12.1 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration—the second record for the United States in as many weeks.

Canada’s oil and gas rigs saw an even bigger decrease in the number rigs this week. Canada’s total oil and gas rig count fell by just 1 rig and is now 211, which is 91 fewer rigs than this time last year.

By 1:05pm EDT, WTI was trading down 2.52% (-$1.44) at $55.78 on the day. Brent crude was trading down 2.41% (-$1.60) at $64.71 per barrel, with both benchmarks trading up significantly week on week.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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