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Baker Hughes Oil Rig Count Drops By 5

Tom Terrarosa

Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, a GE Co. said Friday, Jan. 5, five U.S. drilling rigs came offline in the past week, bringing the count down to 924.

Rigs focused on drilling for oil fell by five, while rigs directed at natural gas and miscellaneous rigs were flat week over week. The oil rig count now sits at 742, while natural gas rigs remain at 182.

Meanwhile, the offshore U.S. rig count is down one rig from last week to 17 and down seven rigs year over year.

The news comes one day after the Trump administration revealed it is reversing an Obama-era policy to allow offshore oil and gas drilling in nearly all U.S. waters.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said that his department will open up 90% of offshore land for drilling as part of a five-year plan, representing the largest number of oil-lease sales in U.S. history. Under the Obama-era plan, just 6% of the same acres would have been made available for drilling.

Offshore drillers likely stand to benefit the most from the new policy. To wit: offshore drillers including Noble Corp. , Ensco plc and Transocean Ltd. saw share bumps Thursday, Jan. 4. The drillers were giving back gains Friday, however, as oil prices fell almost 1% by mid-day.

The U.S. rig count is now up 259 units from this time in 2017 to 665 rigs overall. Oil rigs are up 213, gas rigs are up 47 and miscellaneous rigs are down 1 year over year.

--Anders Keitz contributed to this report.

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