Five Natural Gas Rigs Added as US Count Climbs by 15

Five Natural Gas Rigs Added as US Count Climbs by 15

Five Natural Gas Rigs Added as US Count Climbs by 15

Drillers added 87 oil rigs during the week ended January 12 bringing the total count up to 185, the highest level since March 2017, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. Eight directional units were added, along with seven horizontal units, while vertical units held flat week/week, according to BHI.

The increase in US drilling persisted 14 months before momentarily halting during the second half of 2017, as some producers decreased their 2017 spending plans after prices declined over the summer. February West Texas Intermediate crude was up 15 cents, or 0.2%, from Thursday, to $63.95 a barrel, up a bit from shortly before the rig data, but well below the day's high of $64.23.

The U.S. rig count, is an early indication of future output, is significantly higher than last year's count of 522 active rigs after energy companies increased spending plans as crude began to recover from its two-year price drop.

By state, the biggest gains came in Louisiana and New Mexico, which each added five units to end at 61 and 81 rigs, respectively.

In Oklahoma, the count increased by three this week to 121, up 44 percent from 84 one year ago.

Also among states, Colorado added two rigs, and Alaska and Utah each added one. The Haynesville Shale, Mississippian Lime and Denver Julesburg-Niobrara formation each saw one rig return during the week, according to BHI.

The strong oil prices of late may give exploration and production (E&P) companies reason for optimism as they put together their 2018 capital expenditure budgets.