U.S. Rig Count Moves Closer To 1,000

The U.S. active rig count continued its steady climb last week, moving closer to topping the 1,000 mark for the first time in nearly 3 years.

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The U.S. active rig count continued its steady climb last week, while the price of oil held steady before jumping more than a dollar on Friday.

Friday's U.S. combined oil and gas rig count — provided by oilfield services provider Baker Hughes — increased by six, following three straight weeks with a three-rig increase. It moved the current count to 990 — its highest since April 2, 2015 (1,028), which was the last time the count was above 1,000. The count has had a considerable increase since a recent bottoming-out at 898 on Nov. 3, 2017. Friday's count was up 201 year-over-year (YoY), or 25.5 percent.

The U.S. added four oil rigs last week, moving its count to 800. Friday's oil rig count was up 169 YoY, or 26.8 percent. The U.S. added one gas rig last week, with its count climbing to 189 on its fourth-straight weekly gain. That gas rig count is up 32 YoY, or 20.4 percent. The U.S. also added one miscellaneous rig.

Of last week's combined rig count, Oklahoma added four, North Dakota added three and Texas added two, while Arkansas, New Mexico, Ohio and West Virginia each added one. Alaska, Colorado and Pennslyvania each lost a pair, while Louisiana and Wyoming 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

After losing 29 rigs a week earlier, Canada had another major rig count decline last week. It's count sunk by 54 overall, moving the country's total to 219, according to Baker Hughes' data. That mark is down 57 YoY, or 20.7 percent. Canada lost 52 oil rigs and two gas rigs, with its oil rig count of 144 now down by five YoY (-3.4 percent) and its gas rig count of 75 down by 50 YoY (-40.0 percent). 

Friday's North American combined rig count of 1,209 decreased by 48 from a week earlier and was up by 144 YoY as of Friday, or 13.5 percent.

Oil Price Update

The price of oil continued had an overall climb last week for a third-straight week, being up-and-down early in the week and then holding steady until jumping on Friday. Oil opened Monday, March 12 at $61.15 and rose to $61.84 Tuesday morning before sinking sharply down to $60.34 shortly after. It climbed steadily throughout the rest of the week and was at $61.26 Friday morning before spiking more than $1 to $62.37 and closing the work-week at $62.41. Oil opened Monday, March 19 at $62.14 and was at $62.30 as of 6:30 a.m. CT.

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