News wire — U.S. energy firms added two natural gas rigs and kept the number of oil rigs unchanged this week, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said on Friday, with analysts forecasting more rigs were needed to keep production steady.
The combined oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose two to 432 in the week to April 9, its highest since April 2020, Baker Hughes said in its closely followed weekly report.
That puts the rig count up 77% since falling to a record low of 244 in August 2020, according to Baker Hughes data going back to 1940. The total count, however, is still 170 rigs, or 28%, below this time last year.
U.S. oil rigs were steady at 337 this week, their highest since late April 2020, while gas rigs rose two to 93, their highest since early April 2020. It will take a long time for the rig count to rise above levels seen before April 2020 when drillers slashed 263 rigs from active duty as coronavirus travel restrictions caused demand and prices to crash.
More than half of U.S. oil rigs are in the Permian basin in West Texas and eastern New Mexico where total units held steady at 224 this week, their highest since late April.