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Permian & Cana Woodford Oil Drillers Continue to Remove Rigs

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Baker Hughes, a GE company reported a decline in the U.S. weekly 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) , Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc (DO - Free Report) and Transocean Ltd. (RIG - Free Report) .


Total US Rig Count Declines: Rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States totaled 886 in the week through Sep 13, lower than the prior-week count of 898. The current national rig count is also below the prior year’s 1055.  

The number of onshore rigs, in the week ending Sep 13, totaled 860 versus the previous week’s 870. Moreover, the tally of rigs operating offshore plays through the week till Sep 13 was 26, lower than the count of 28 for the week ended Sep 6. Notably, no rig operated in inland waters, same as a week ago.

US Removes 5 Oil Rigs: Oil rig count was 733, down from 738 in the week ended Sep 6. Notably, the tally has never dropped to such a level since November 2017. Importantly, the count has fallen successively for the past four weeks. The current total, far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014, is also lower than 867 a year ago.

Natural Gas Rig Count Declines in US: The natural gas rig count of 153 is below the prior-week count of 160. Moreover, the count of rigs exploring the commodity is lower than the prior-year week’s 186. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is 90.5%, below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 53 units, higher than the prior-week count of 48. However, 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 833 was below the prior-week level of 850.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Decreases: The GoM rig count is 25 units, of which 24 were oil-directed. The count was lower than the prior-week tally of 26.

Rig Count in Major Basins & Outlook

While Permian — the most prolific basin — removed eight oil rigs in the week ended Sep 13, the crude rig count in Cana Woodford was lowered by four. Importantly, while the tally of oil rigs in Permian fell for five consecutive weeks, crude drillers in Cana Woodford removed rigs for two successive weeks.

Investors should know that domestic drillers may continue to lower rigs in the oil patches as they have a conservative capital budget for 2019 and the crude pricing scenario is volatile. Despite the bearish landscape, it would be wise for investors to keep an eye on Permian drillers which are ramping up crude production with the deployment of lesser rigs. Two Permian drillers that should be in investors’ watch list are Devon Energy Corporation (DVN - Free Report) and Pioneer Natural Resources Company (PXD - 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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