The total tally of U.S. rigs drilling for oil and gas fell below 900 this week for the first time since 2017 as oilfield activity continues to slow.
Oklahoma and Texas led yet another dip in the nationwide rig count as drilling activity has steadily declined since the beginning of this year.
The rig count fell by six down this week down to 898 rigs, including 738 of them that are drilling for crude oil. The rest are primarily seeking natural gas, according to the weekly count collected by Baker Hughes, a GE company.
Oklahoma, which has seen its rig count plummet by 45 percent in just 12 months, lost five rigs for the week, while Texas declined by three rigs, including two from the Permian Basin. North Dakota, with its Bakken shale, was the only state to add to its drilling rig tally.
Oil prices remain muted with the U.S. benchmark sitting above $56 per barrel.
Texas is still home to 438 active rigs, nearly half of the nation’s total. West Texas’ booming Permian Basin, which extends into New Mexico, accounts for 427 rigs all by itself. The Permian makes up 58 percent of all the oil-drilling rigs in the country.
The total count is up from an all-time low of 404 rigs in May 2016.
However, with this week’s dip, the oil rig count is down 54 percent from its peak of 1,609 in October 2014, before oil prices first began plummeting. However, rigs today are able to drill more wells than before and to deeper depths to produce more oil and gas. That’s largely why the U.S. is producing record volumes of crude oil and natural gas.
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