Rig count claims fourth weekly gain

Drilling activity continues to inch higher, though activity levels remain significantly lower than a year ago.

Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said Friday the US rig count it has issued weekly since 1944 posted its fourth weekly gain – the first four-week rise since last November. The count rose one rig to 626, the highest level since September yet still 154 rigs or 20% below the 780 reported last year.

The number of rigs drilling for crude oil dropped two rigs to 503 – 122 fewer than the 625 rigs drilling for oil a year ago. The number of rigs drilling for natural gas rose three to 119, the highest level since September but down 34 rigs from 153 rigs drilling for natural gas the previous year.

Texas added two rigs for 308 rigs active statewide, down 62 from 370 rigs last year. New Mexico dropped four rigs for 102 rigs drilling in the state. Louisiana (3) and West Virginia (1) joined Texas as producing states seeing increases while Pennsylvania (1) joined New Mexico in seeing a decline.

The Permian Basin bucked the trend, losing one rig for 308 rigs at work across the region, 42 fewer rigs than the 350 active regionwide last year.

The two most active counties in the Permian each saw declines this week. Lea County, New Mexico, remained the most active with 50 rigs, down two. Eddy County, New Mexico, was close behind with 49 rigs, also down two rigs for the week.

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