The number of total active drilling rigs in the United States stayed the same this week—bringing the 18 weeks of increases to a close as pressure mounts on the Biden Administration to do more to increase crude oil production in the United States in an effort to relieve high gasoline prices.
The total rig count remains at 650, as the world watches for any signs of increased output from the United States that would allow weaning off from Russian oil—at least in part.
Baker Hughes reported this week that the total active rig figure—oil, gas, and miscellaneous—is 247 rigs higher than the rig count this time in 2021.
Oil-directed rigs, however, fell by 3 to 519, while gas-directed rigs were up by 3 to 130. Miscellaneous rigs stayed the same.
While drilling activity has picked up in the United States, there is a significant lag in the corollary that is U.S. oil production. U.S. weekly production of crude oil stayed the same for the fourth week in a row at 11.6 million bpd, according to the latest Energy Information Administration for the week ending February 25.
The rig count in the Permian Basin rose by 1 this week, bringing the total rig count in the Permian basin to 310.
Primary Vision's Frac Spread Count, which tracks the number of completion crews finishing off previously drilled wells, shows that completion crews rose also, for the eighth week in a row in the week ending February 25. Completion crews rose by 7 to 290.
At 11:40 a.m. EST, oil prices were trending up on the day after Ukrainian reports surfaced stating that Russia had shelled Europe's largest nuclear power complex.
WTI was trading at $112 per barrel—up 4.02% on the day and up more than $20 on the week as the oil markets remain concerned about crude supplies after Russia invaded Ukraine. The Brent benchmark traded at $114.40 per barrel at that time, up 3.55% on the day and up $17.40 per barrel on the week.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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And yet the U.S. ideally will have the where-with-all to provide some relief to Europe in the wake of the Putin invasion. Exportable petroleum from the U.S. could come from reduced demand instead of increased production. If we use energy wisely -- combine trips, buy efficient vehicles, forgo some travel (especially by air) -- maybe we will have the ability to export more petroleum.
In Europe, the talk is more about reducing the energy needed for space heating. There's talk of everyone voluntarily setting thermostats 1-degree C lower.
Maybe it's time to revisit old-fashioned ideas about conservation even though Jimmy Carter sure got a ribbing about putting on a sweater to stay warm. But what is the big picture here, with Russia exporting fossil fuels to build its war machine??