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Image courtesy of Kool Cats Photography/Flickr.

According to a report by Houston-based Baker Hughes the U.S. rig count stood at 1,267 as of February 27, down 502 rigs from the same period last year.

Rigs targeting oil dropped by 33 to 986 since January 2.

The Permian Basin lost seven rigs bringing its total count to 355 after losing 49 rigs in early February.

The Eagle Ford shale play dropped only three rigs.

Over the last three months 589 U.S. rigs have been idled.

The new numbers may signal that upstreams are scaling back plans to curb drilling activity.

While the rig count during the last month “was falling like Newton’s apple and now it’s just rolling down the hill,” president of WTRG Economics James Williams told Bloomberg.

Crude stockpiles hit a record 434.1 million barrels last month while weekly output rose to a record 9.29 million barrels.

Wood Mackenzie expects the U.S. rig count to continue tumbling during the second quarter before hitting bottom.

Goldman Sachs said in a research note last month that current rig count trends indicate U.S. production growth will soon slow enough to balance the oil market.

“The current rig count is pointing to U.S. production growth decelerating close to the level required in our view to balance the oil market. We continue to expect that lower prices will be required in order for the capex and rig cuts to materialize into sufficiently lower production growth,” Goldman Sachs Group said in a research note.