28 September 2013 – The number of rigs drilling for oil and gas in the US fell by 17 this week for a total of 1744, according to data from Houston-based oilfield services giant Baker Hughes.
Ten fewer rigs were drilling for natural gas in the US this week, in a second consecutive weekly fall to stand at 376.
The gas-directed rig count, which posted a six-month high of 401 two weeks ago, has however increased in eight of the last 14 weeks and is above the 18-year low of 349 set in late June.
Gas futures prices were down 1.5 cents at $3.552 per million British thermal units just before rig data was released, but climbed about 1 cent after the report.
The rig count fall may forestall talk of producers being encouraged by new pipelines and processing plants to hook up more wells and pump more supply into what is an already well-supplied market.
The oil-focused rig count fell for the third time in four weeks, shedding seven to 1362. The oil rig count, which hit a nine-month high of 1413 in mid-June, is down 48 rigs, or 3.4% compared to the same week last year.
Horizontal rigs, which are often used in shale plays, had their first decline in three weeks, losing six rigs to 1085 and standing 9.1% off a record high of 1193 set in May 2012.
At state level, Texas lost the most rigs, falling by 11 to 825, while Louisiana fell by five to 108.
Alaska and West Virginia both lost three rigs to total nine and 34 respectively.
Oklahoma rose the most at 166 rigs, up by four, while New Mexico added three rigs to 74 and Pennsylvania rose by two to 52.
The Permian basin gained two rigs to total 454 rigs, while the Eagle Ford basin lost three rigs to stand at 229.
The Marcellus dropped a rig to total 85, while the Mississippian gained two to 78.
The Granite Wash basin and the Denver Julesberg-Niobara basin each fell one to 63 and 48 respectively.
The Haynesville lost two at 38 rigs, while the Utica was flat at 36.
The Cana Woodford added two to 28 rigs, with the Fayetsville losing one to total nine rigs.
*Bill Lehane, Upstreamonline