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Permian Basin Adds Oil Drilling Rigs for 2 Straight Weeks

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In its weekly release, Baker Hughes Company (BKR - Free Report) reported an increase in the U.S. rig count.

More on the Rig Count

Baker Hughes’ data, issued at the end of every week since 1944, helps energy service providers gauge the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.

A change in the Houston-based oilfield service player’s rotary rig count affects demand for energy services like drilling, completion and production, provided by the likes of Halliburton Company (HAL - Free Report) , Schlumberger Limited (SLB - Free Report) and Transocean Ltd. (RIG - Free Report) .

Details

Total US Rig Count Increases: The count of rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States was 266 in the week through Oct 2 versus the prior-week count of 261. Thus, the tally increased for three weeks in a row. The current national rig count is, however, below the year-ago level’s 855.

The number of onshore rigs in the week ending Oct 2 totaled 251 compared with the prior-week count of 246. Notably, the count of rigs operating in inland waters was one, same as the prior-week tally. Moreover, in the offshore resources, 14 rigs were operating, also flat with the prior-week count.

US Adds 6 Oil Rigs: Oil rig count was 189 in the week through Oct 2, compared with 183 in the week ended Sep 25. Investors should also note that the current tally of oil rigs, far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014, is below the year-ago 710.

Natural Gas Rig Count Falls in US: The natural gas rig count of 74 was lower than the prior-week count of 75. Moreover, the count of rigs exploring the commodity is below the prior-year week’s 144. Importantly, per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is 95.4% below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 16 units, in line with the prior-week count. Moreover, the horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling technology with the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock formations, also known as shale formations) of 250 compares favorably with the prior-week level of 245.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Flat: The GoM rig count is 14 units, of which all were oil-directed. The count was in line with the prior-week count.

Rig Count in Prolific Basin

Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — recorded a weekly oil rig tally of 128, higher than the prior-week count of 123. Thus, the basin has been adding oil drilling rigs for two straight weeks.

Outlook

With oil prices recovering rapidly – the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude has improved more than 242% since late April – on reopening economies, most analysts believe that drillers will continue to add rigs.

Meanwhile, investors may keep an eye on two energy stocks which are expected to benefit if the oil price rally sustains – Devon Energy Corporation (DVN - Free Report) and Diamondback Energy Inc. (FANG - Free Report) . Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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