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US Oil & Gas Rig Tally Rises for 4 Straight Weeks: Here's Why

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

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 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 Rises: The count of rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States was 508 for the week through Aug 27,higher than the prior-week count of 503. Thus, the tally has increased for four successive weeks, thanks to a massive recovery in oil price. The count is the highest since April 2020. The current national rig count is higher than the year-ago level of 254.

The number of onshore rigs for the week ended Aug 27 totaled 490, higher than the prior-week count of 485. In offshore resources, 15 rigs were operating, in line with the prior-week count.

US Oil Rig Count Increases: Oil rig count was 410 for the week ended Aug 27, higher than the prior-week count of 405. 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 180.

Natural Gas Rig Count Flat in US: Natural gas rig count of 97 was in line with the prior-week count. The count of rigs exploring the commodity was higher than the prior-year week’s 72. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is 94% below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 21 units, higher than the prior-week count of 19. 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 487 compared favorably with the prior-week level of 484.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count In Line: GoM rig count was 14 units, of which all were oil-directed. The count was flat 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 248, higher than the prior-week count of 246. The tally for oil drilling rigs in the basin increased for three straight weeks.


The price of West Texas Intermediate crude is approaching the $70-per-barrel mark, with Hurricane Ida affecting Gulf Coast’s crude-oil production. The commodity’s price is significantly higher than 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 has paved the way for further rig additions although drilling activities have slowed down as upstream players are focusing mainly on stockholder returns rather than boosting output.

Meanwhile, investors may keep an eye on two energy stocks that are expected to benefit if oil price continues to stay healthy — Whiting Petroleum Corporation (WLL - Free Report) and Earthstone Energy, Inc. (ESTE - Free Report) . While Whiting Petroleum sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Earthstone Energy carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.