U.S. Rig Count Gain Streak Snapped; Oil Checks In Near $64

The U.S. active rig count had its first decrease last week since early February, while the price of oil slid throughout the week.

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The U.S. active rig count had its first decrease last week since early February, while the price of oil slid throughout the week.

Friday's U.S. combined oil and gas rig count — provided by oilfield services provider Baker Hughes — decreased by two, marking its first non-increase since the week of Feb. 2 of this year. It moved the current count to 993 — still shy of topping the 1,000 mark for the first time since April 2, 2015. Friday's count was up 169 year-over-year (YoY), or 20.5 percent.

The U.S. lost seven oil rigs last week, moving its count to 797. Friday's oil rig count was up 135 YoY, or 20.4 percent. The U.S. added four gas rigs last week, with its count climbing to 194 on its sixth-straight weekly gain. That gas rig count is up 34 YoY, or 21.3 percent. The U.S. miscellaneous rig count increased by one to two.

Of last week's combined rig count, Pennsylvania added two, while Louisiana and Oklahoma each added one. Texas lost three, while New Mexico, Ohio and West Virginia lost one apiece.

Starting last month, I've been embedding the daily U.S. rig count provided by Drillinginfo via its recently-launched DailyRigcount.com — a microsite that utilizes data from GPS tracking units and publicly-reported information to monitor oil and gas drilling rig movements in the U.S. Traditional rig counts — such as those from Baker Hughes — typically define a rig as active only when it is "turning to the right," and have been released on Friday afternoons every week since 1944, whereas DailyRigCount defines a rig as active from the time a GPS tracking unit identifies it at a permitted oil and gas drilling location until the time it leaves, and is released daily. In addition, Drillinginfo captures rig movements on weekends and holidays, reflecting the actual activity in the oil field.

Here's the current rig count from Drillinginfo:

Canada/North America

Canada's seasonal rig count decline continued last week, as the nation's count had another considerable fall of 27, after losing 58 and losing 54 rigs the previous two weeks, respectively. That moves Canada's rig count to 134 as of Friday, which is down 21 YoY, or 13.5 percent. Last week Canada lost 22 oil rigs and five gas rigs, with its oil rig count of 71 up by 16 YoY (+29.1 percent), and its gas rig count of 63 down by 37 YoY (-37.0 percent).

Friday's North American combined rig count of 1,127 decreased by 29 from a week earlier and was up by 148 YoY, or 15.1 percent.

Oil Price Update

After climbing to its highest mark in nearly two months, the price of WTI Crude oil declined throughout most of last week and opened Monday near the $64 mark. Oil opened March 26 at $65.50 and briefly surged to $66.24 — which would be its highest closing mark since December 2014 — but quickly sank back into the $64 range, where it remained the rest of the week. Oil closed Tuesday, March 27 at $64.64; briefly fell below $64 on Wednesday and closed at $64.65 and closed Thursday at $64.94 before the three-day holiday weekend. Oil opened Monday at $65.16 and was at $64.27 as of 8:43 a.m. CT.

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