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US Oil & Natural Gas Rig Tally Rises for 4 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 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) and Schlumberger Limited (SLB - Free Report) .

Details

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 528 for the week through Oct 1,higher than the prior-week count of 521. Thus, the tally has increased for four successive weeks, marking the highest count since April 2020. The current national rig count is higher than the year-ago level of 266.

The number of onshore rigs for the week ended Oct 1 totaled 513, higher than the prior-week count of 509. In offshore resources, 13 rigs were operating, higher than the prior-week count of 10.

US Oil Rig Count Increases: Oil rig count was 428 for the week ended Oct 1, higher than the prior-week count of 421. 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 189.

Natural Gas Rig Count Flat in US: Natural gas rig count of 99 was in line with the prior-week count. The count of rigs exploring the commodity was higher than the prior-year week’s 74. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is roughly 94% below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 32 units, higher than the prior-week count of 30. 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 496 compared favorably with the prior-week level of 491.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Increases: GoM rig count was 11 units, of which all were oil-directed. The count was higher than the prior-week tally of eight.

Rig Count in Prolific Basin

Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — recorded a weekly oil rig tally of 262, higher than the prior-week count of 259. The tally for oil drilling rigs in the basin increased for eight straight weeks.

Outlook

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude is trading above the $75-per-barrel mark again. 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 mainly focusing on stockholder returns rather than boosting output.

Meanwhile, investors may watch energy stocks like Whiting Petroleum Corporation (WLL - Free Report) and Continental Resources, Inc. (CLR - Free Report) . These are expected to benefit if oil price continues to stay healthy. Both the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.