U.S. Drilling Makes Gains As Gas Rig Count Jumps

The total number of total active drilling rigs in the United States rose by 8 this week, with gas-directed rigs making all the gains, according to new data from Baker Hughes published on Friday.

The total rig count rose to 754 this week—91 rigs higher than the rig count this time in 2022 and 321 rigs lower than the rig count at the beginning of 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Oil rigs in the United States decreased by 1 this week, to 589 on top of the 2 rigs lost in the week prior. Gas rigs was a different story, gaining 9 in the week to 162. Miscellaneous rigs stayed the same.

The rig count in the Permian Basin rose by 7, more than offsetting last week’s 6-rig decline. Rigs in the Eagle Ford decreased by 2.

Primary Vision’s Frac Spread Count, an estimate of the number of crews completing unfinished wells—a more frugal use of finances than drilling new wells—stayed the same for the week ending March 10. The frac spread count held steady at 276. This is 4 more than a month ago, and 4 more than a year ago.

Crude oil production in the United States stayed at 12.2 million bpd for the week ending March 10, according to the latest weekly EIA estimates. U.S. production levels are up 600,000 bpd versus a year ago.

At 12:49 p.m. ET, the WTI benchmark was trading down $1.76 (-2.57%) on the day at $66.59 down nearly $10 per barrel from this time last week, as the rosy Chinese oil demand outlook gave way to market panic over a possible bank collapse contagion.   

The Brent benchmark was trading down $1.91 (-2.56%) at $72.79 per barrel on the day, also down nearly $10 per barrel from this time last Friday.

WTI was trading at $66.72 minutes after the data release, down 2.38% on the day.