USA rig count surges by 15, Baker Hughes reports

A year ago, the total rig count was just 659, with oil rigs at 522 and gas rigs at 136 (plus one miscellaneous).

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the US increased by 15 this week to 939. Eight directional units were added, along with seven horizontal units, while vertical units held flat week/week, according to BHI. The total, 939, was still 19 off its recent peak of 958, by the end of July 2017, Xinhua reported. Thirteen of these rigs are land-based, while two are offshore. Even the relatively huge increase of 10 new land rigs this week is not pushing crude prices down.

Energy firms in both the United States and Canada have mostly increased the number of rigs operating since the summer of 2016 as USA crude prices climbed over the key US$50 a barrel level that analysts said would prompt drillers to return to the well pad.

The natural gas rig count increased by five to 187 this week. Texas was the only state tracked by BHI's breakdown to see a decrease for the week, finishing down two at 452 units (versus 325 in the year-ago period). The count for natural gas rigs is now up by 51 year over year.

NGI's more detailed breakdown of BHI data showed one rig added in the Piceance Basin for the week, leaving the play at nine active rigs versus five reported during the week ended January 13, 2017. Last week, it forecast 997 in 2018 and 1,126 in 2019.

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