Image courtesy of Mike Towber/Flickr.

U.S. crude operators shelved another 49 rigs last week, bringing the current U.S. rig count to its lowest level in two years.

According to Houston-based Baker Hughes, the number of rigs exclusively drilling for oil dropped by 49 to 1,317 while the number of gas rigs fell by six to 316.

The total number of onshore and offshore oil and gas rigs operating in the United States fell by 43 last week to 1,633.

The offshore rig count was unchanged from last week’s count of 54.

The new count marks the eight straight week that operators have set rigs aside.

Texas and North Dakota saw the most losses with 13 units being pulled in Texas and nine rigs being cut in North Dakota.

The Williston Basin recorded the largest drop of any major U.S. play with 12 rigs lost since last week, bringing the play’s total count to 153.

The U.S. rig count its expected to fall further as upstreams of all sizes cut back on exploration and appraisal costs amid low global oil prices and weak demand.

Wood Mackenzie said last week it expects the U.S. onshore rig count to fall by as much as 30 percent if spending plummets by 40 percent as the group’s current forecast projects.

Drilling and completion spending in North America is expected to drop down to $90 billion this year from $140 billion last year, Wood Mackenzie said.

Despite the rapid drop in rig counts, U.S. crude production only ticked down 6,000 barrels during the week ending on January 16.


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