Sharp Drop In U.S. Rig Count Marks First Yearly Loss Since 2016

By Julianne Geiger

Bakken rig

The the number of active oil and gas rigs fell sharply in the United States this week according to Baker Hughes, bringing the overall rig count below year-ago levels in a rare first not seen in years.

The total number of active oil and gas drilling rigs in the United States fell by 10 according to the report, with the number of active oil rigs falling by 8 to reach 825 and the number of gas rigs falling by 2 to reach 192.

The combined oil and gas rig count is now down year on year for the first time since the end of 2016, with oil seeing just a 5-rig increase year on year and gas rigs down 5 since this time last year. Miscellaneous rigs were at zero this week, a 1-rig loss on the year.

Moments after the release, WTI was trading down $0.09 (-0.14%) at $63.78—down on the week as well. The Brent benchmark was trading up $0.16 (+0.22%) at $71.78 at 1:36pm EST, up slightly week on week. Prices quickly began to perk up on the news, with WTI hitting $63.96 (+$.09) by 1:48pm. Brent stood at $71.89 (+$0.27) at that time.

US crude oil production is still at near all-time highs, and for week ending April 12 US oil production stood at 12.1 million barrels, coming off the all-time high of 12.2 million bpd seen in the two weeks prior.

Canada saw little movement this week, with oil rigs gaining one and gas rigs falling one. Canada’s oil rigs are now down 19 year on year, with gas rigs down 8 year on year. Western Canadian Select was trading at $54.47 (-$0.18)—still a sizable discount to WTI.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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