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Permian Oil Drilling Rig Tally Rises for 4 Consecutive 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, help 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 impacts 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) .


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 457 for the week through May 28compared with the prior-week figure of 455. The latest tally marked the highest count since April 2020. Moreover, the count has increased for five consecutive weeks. Notably, the current national rig count is above the year-ago level of 301.

The number of onshore rigs for the week ended May 28 totaled 442 versus the prior count of 440. Notably, in offshore resources, 14 rigs were operating, in line with the prior-week count.

US Adds 3 Oil Rigs: Oil rig count was 359 for the week ended May 28 compared with 356 in the week ended May 21. Investors should also note that the current tally of oil rigs — far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014 — is higher than the year-ago figure of 222.

Natural Gas Rig Count Decreases in US: Natural gas rig count of 98 fell from the prior-week count of 99. But, the count of rigs exploring the commodity was higher than the prior-year week’s 77. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is almost 93.9% below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 15 units, in line with the prior-week count. Notably, 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 442 compared favorably with the prior-week level of 440.

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

Rig Count in Prolific Basin

Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — recorded a weekly oil rig tally of 232 versus the prior-week count of 230. Thus, the tally for oil drilling rigs in the basin increased for four consecutive weeks.


The price of West Texas Intermediate crude, trading at more than $67 per barrel mark, has improved drastically from the pandemic-hit April last year, when oil was in the negative territory. With coronavirus vaccines being rolled out at a massive scale, the demand for fuel will possibly improve further. This will likely encourage oil and gas drillers to continue adding rigs to shale plays.

Meanwhile, investors may keep an eye on two energy stocks that are expected to benefit if oil price continues to remain healthy — Whiting Petroleum Corporation (WLL - Free Report) and Matador Resources Company (MTDR - Free Report) . Both the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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