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U.S. Drilling Decline Signals Troubles in Oil and Gas Sectors

U.S. Drilling Decline Signals Troubles in Oil and Gas Sectors

May 24, 2024

U.S. Drilling Decline Signals Troubles in Oil and Gas Sectors

The number of active drilling rigs for oil and gas in the United States has witnessed a decline, as reported by Baker Hughes on Friday. The total rig count decreased by 4 to 600 this week, a notable reduction from the 711 rigs that were active around the same time last year.

Despite the overall drop, the number of oil rigs remained unchanged this week, maintaining a count of 497. This current figure reflects a decrease of 73 oil rigs compared to the count from the previous year. On the other hand, the number of gas rigs has seen a reduction, falling by 4 this week to 99, marking a loss of 38 active gas rigs year-over-year. The miscellaneous rigs, which include those that are not classified as oil or gas, remained steady at 4.

In terms of production, U.S. crude oil output has held constant for the tenth consecutive week at an average of 13.1 million barrels per day (bpd) for the week ending May 17. This production rate is 200,000 bpd lower than the all-time peak of 13.3 million bpd.

Further insights into the industry's activities come from Primary Vision’s Frac Spread Count, which provides an estimate of the number of crews completing wells that are yet to be finished. This count has increased by 5 in the week ending May 17, reaching a total of 263.

Looking at specific regions, drilling activity in the Permian Basin has not changed, following a decrease by 2 in the previous week. In contrast, the Eagle Ford region has seen the rig count fall by 1 this week, which follows another decrease by 1 in the week prior.

Amidst these developments, oil prices experienced an uptick on Friday. Moments before the data release at 12:52 p.m. ET, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark was trading up $0.77 (approximately 1.0%) on the day at $77.64 per barrel, which is close to $2 per barrel lower than last week’s figures. The Brent crude benchmark also saw an increase of $0.70 (approximately 0.86%) to $82.06 per barrel, which is about $1.50 below the level from a week ago.

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