US oil rig count slumps after weeks of modest growth

The U.S. oil rig count posted declines after a summer of low prices and fragile growth, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc.

Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes Inc. announced on Friday that the number of rigs exploring for or producing oil and natural gas in the United States last week declined by 8 to a total of 877. According to a report from Pulse Headlines, the drop in operating rigs follows a slow week of growth before.

Baker Hughes reported that there were 675 exploratory rigs in the country looking for oil, and 202 that were on the hunt for natural gas at the present time. In 2014, when oil prices were nearly twice what they are today, there were a total of 1,914 active rigs in the U.S.

Only the state of Texas avoided losses this week. The lonestar state gained three rigs, while Louisiana lost six, New Mexico lost two, and Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma each lost one. Alaska, Arkansas, California, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming’s rig counts all remained the same.

Baker Hughes has been keeping track of rotary rigs since 1944, and has built itself into a valuable resource in the oil industry. The firm began in Canada monitoring drilling activity in both its home country and in the US. It started issuing a monthly international rig count in 1975, which excludes rigs located in Russia and onshore China from the final number.

The North American rig count is posted every Friday at 12pm CST, and the international count is released on the fifth working day of every month. Weak oil prices are the primary driver behind slow growth in American rigs, and producers will need to see a significant bump to make drilling new wells worth their while.

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