Rig Count Decline Accelerates Amid Rising U.S. Crude Oil Production

Rig Count Decline Accelerates Amid Rising U.S. Crude Oil Production

By Julianne Geiger – Aug 18, 2023, 12:13 PM CDT

Bonespring rig

The total number of active drilling rigs in the United States fell by 12  this week, according to new data from Baker Hughes published Friday.

The total rig count fell to 652 this week. So far this year, Baker Hughes has estimated a loss of 136 active drilling rigs. This week’s count is 54 fewer rigs than the rig count at the beginning of 2019 prior to the pandemic.

The number of oil rigs fell by 5 this week to 520, down by 101 so far in 2023. The number of gas rigs fell by 6 to 117, a loss of 39 active gas rigs from the start of the year. Miscellaneous rigs fell by 1.

The rig count in the Permian Basin stayed the same—18 rigs below this same time last year. The rig count in the Eagle Ford also stayed the same, and is now 19 fewer than this time last year.

Primary Vision’s Frac Spread Count, an estimate of the number of crews completing unfinished wells (which is cheaper than drilling new wells), fell again this week. The frac spread count rose to 262 in the week ending August 11, up from 257 in the week prior. The frac spread count is 4 moew than where it started the year.

Crude oil production levels in the United States rose for the second week in a row, to 12.7 million bpd in the week ending August 11, according to the latest weekly EIA estimates—the highest production levels according to weekly data since 2019. U.S. production levels are now up 500,000 bpd versus a year ago.

At 11:10 p.m. ET on Friday, the WTI benchmark was trading up $0.90 (+1.12%) on the day at $81.29—down roughly $2 per barrel from this time last week. The Brent benchmark was trading up $0.69 (+0.82%) at $84.81 per barrel on the day—down about roughly $2.40 per barrel from a week ago.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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