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Permian Oil Drilling Rig Count Falls in 4 of 5 Weeks

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In its weekly release, Baker Hughes Company (BKR - Free Report) reported that the U.S. rig count was lower than the prior-week tally. The rotary rig count, issued by BKR, is usually published in major newspapers and trade publications.

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. The number of active rigs and its comparison with the prior-week figure indicates the demand trajectory for Baker Hughes’ oilfield services from exploration and production companies.

Details

Total U.S. Rig Count Declines: The count of rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States was 760 for the week ended Sep 2. The figure is lower thanthe prior week’s count of 765. Thus, the tally decreased in four of the past five weeks. The current national rig count is higher than the year-ago level of 497.

The onshore rigs in the week ended Sep 2 totaled 741 compared with the prior week’s count of 744. In offshore resources, 16 rigs were operating, lower than the prior-week count of 18.

U.S. Oil Rig Count Falls: Oil rig count was 596 for the week ended Sep 2, lower than the prior week’s figure of 605. The current number of oil rigs — far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014 — is up from the year-ago figure of 394.

U.S. Natural Gas Rig Count Rises: Natural gas rig count of 162 was higher than the prior-week figure of 158. The count of rigs exploring the commodity is also higher than the prior-year week’s tally of 102. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is 89.9% lower than the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 26 units, lower than the prior-week count of 31. 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 734 is flat with the prior-week level.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Falls: GoM rig count was 14 units, all oil-directed. The count was lower than the prior-week number of 16.

Rig Count in the Most Prolific Basin

Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — recorded a weekly oil rig tally of 337, lower than the prior week's count of 344. The tally decreased in four of the past five weeks despite oil price remaining favorable.

Outlook

The West Texas Intermediate crude price is approaching the $90-per-barrel mark, which is extremely favorable for exploration and production activities. Higher oil prices will likely pave the way for further rig additions despite a slowdown in drilling activities, as upstream players mainly focus on stockholder returns rather than boosting output.

Investors may keep a close eye on energy stocks like EOG Resources (EOG - Free Report) and Continental Resources, Inc. , as these companies are expected to benefit from the current healthy oil price scenario.

EOG Resources, a leading oil and natural gas exploration and production company currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), is well-placed to capitalize on the promising business scenario. EOG has an estimated 11,500 net undrilled premium locations, resulting in a brightened production outlook. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

EOG Resources is strongly committed to returning capital to shareholders. Since its transition to premium drilling, the company has returned roughly $10 billion in cash to stockholders. With the employment of premium drilling, EOG will be able to reduce its cash operating costs per barrel of oil equivalent, thereby aiding its bottom line.

Continental Resources is also a leading upstream energy company with proven reserves in North Dakota and Oklahoma. The oil inventories of Continental Resources are among the best in the industry.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Continental Resources has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2022 and 2023 in the past seven days. The Zacks Rank #3 firm has gained 80.8% in the past year, outpacing the 67.8% rise of the composite stocks belonging to the sector.


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