US Rig Count Ticks Up 3 As Oil Hovers Near $62

The U.S. active rig count continued its slow-but-steady climb last week, while the price of oil fell to near $60 before a healthy rally prior to the weekend.

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The U.S. active rig count continued its slow-but-steady climb last week, while the price of oil increased sharply before the weekend.

Friday's U.S. combined oil and gas rig count — provided by oilfield services provider Baker Hughes — increased by three for a third-straight week to a mark of 984. That's the count's highest mark since April 10, 2015 (988), and a considerable increase since a recent bottoming-out at 898 on Nov. 3, 2017. Friday's count was up 216 year-over-year (YoY), or 28.1 percent.

The U.S. lost four oil rigs last week, moving its count to 796 and snapping a six-week streak of gains. Friday's oil rig count was up 179 YoY, or 29.0 percent. The U.S. added seven gas rigs last week, with its count climbing to 188 on its third-straight weekly gain. That gas rig count is up 37 YoY, or 24.5 percent.

Of last week's combined rig count, Texas added seven and North Dakota added three, while Colorado and Pennsylvania each added one. Oklahoma lost four and Alaska lost a pair, while Louisiana, New Mexico and Utah lost one apiece.

Starting this month, I've begun also 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 had a considerable rig count decline last week, losing 29 overall and moving its combined count to 273, according to Baker Hughes' data. That mark is down 42 YoY, or 13.3 percent. Canada lost 15 oil rigs lost 14 gas rigs, with its oil rig count of 196 now up by 16 YoY (8.9 percent) and its gas rig count of 77 down by 58 (43.0 percent).

Friday's North American combined rig count of 1,257 decreased by 26 from a week earlier and was up by 174 YoY as of Friday, or 16.1 percent.

Oil Price Update

The price of oil continued its recent moderate volatility last week, falling throughout the week before rallying before the weekend. Oil opened Monday, March 5 at $61.49, gained more than $1 that day and reached $63.17 Tuesday morning before going on a three-day slide. Oil fell below $61 Wednesday afternoon and hovered in the low $60-range most of Thursday before a sharp gain throughout Friday to a work-week close of $62.14. Oil was at $62.18 as of 10:00 a.m. CT Monday morning.

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