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Drillers in Permian Basin Continue to Remove Oil Rigs

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Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE - Free Report) 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) .

Details

Total US Rig Count Declines: Rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States totaled 860 in the week through Sep 27, lower than the prior-week count of 868. The current national rig count is also below the prior year’s 1054.   

The number of onshore rigs, in the week ending Sep 27, totaled 835 versus the previous week’s 842. Moreover, the tally of rigs operating offshore plays through the week till Sep 27 was 24, lower than the count of 25 through the week ended Sep 20. However, the count of rig in inland waters was one, in line with a week ago.

US Removes 6 Oil Rigs: Oil rig count was 713, down from 719 in the week ended Sep 20. Notably, the tally has never dropped to such a level since May 2017. Importantly, in the past six weeks, drillers lowered the tally successively. The current total, far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014, is also below 863 a year ago.

Natural Gas Rig Count Declines in US: The natural gas rig count of 146 is lower than the prior-week count of 148. Moreover, the count of rigs exploring the commodity is lower than the prior-year week’s 189. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is 91%, below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 51 units, in line with the prior-week count. 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 809 was below the prior-week level of 817.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Declines: The GoM rig count is 22 units, of which 21 were oil-directed. The count was lower than the prior-week tally of 23.

Rig Count in Major Basins & Outlook

While Permian — the most prolific basin — lowered oil rig tally by three in the week ended Sep 27, DJ-Niobrara removes one crude drilling rig. Importantly, the count of oil rigs in Permian fell for seven consecutive 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 weak. 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.

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