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Permian Basin Drillers Add Crude Oil Rigs in 15 of 17 Weeks

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·4 min read
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  • CL=F
  • NG=F
  • CLR
  • BKR
  • WLL

In its weekly release, Baker Hughes Company BKR reported that U.S. rig count was in line with the prior week. The rotary rig count, issued by Baker Hughes, usually gets published in major newspapers and trade publications.

Baker Hughes’ data, issued at the end of every week since 1944, helps energy service providers gauge the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry. The number of active rigs and its comparison with the prior-week tally indicates the trajectory of demand for Baker Hughes’oilfield services from exploration and production companies.

Details

Total US Rig Count In line: The count of rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States was 569 for the week through Dec 3, in line withthe prior-week count. Thus, the tally has increased in five of the past six weeks, keeping the count at the highest mark since April 2020. The current national rig count is higher than the year-ago level of 323.

The number of onshore rigs for the week ended Dec 3 totaled 554, higher than the prior-week count of 552. In offshore resources, 13 rigs were operating, lower than the prior-week count of 15.

US Oil Rig Count Flat: Oil rig count was 467 for the week ended Dec 3, flat with the prior-week count. The current tally of oil rigs — far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014 — is higher than the year-ago figure of 246.

Natural Gas Rig Count Flat in US: Natural gas rig count of 102 was in line with the prior-week count. The count of rigs exploring the commodity was higher than the prior-year week’s 75. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is roughly 94% below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 25 units, higher than the prior-week count of 22. Horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling technology with the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock formations, also known as shale formations) of 544 compared unfavorably with the prior-week level of 547.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Declines: GoM rig count was 13 units, of which all were oil-directed. The count was lower than the prior-week number of 15.

Rig Count in the Most Prolific Basin

Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — recorded a weekly oil rig tally of 283, higher than the prior-week count of 280. The basin's oil drilling rigs increased in 15 of the last 17 weeks.

Outlook

West Texas Intermediate crude price is trading above $67 per barrel, significantly higher than the pandemic-hit April last year when oil was in the negative territory. With coronavirus vaccines being rolled out on a massive scale, the demand for fuel will possibly improve further. This has paved the way for further rig additions, although drilling activities have slowed down as upstream players are mainly focusing on stockholder returns rather than boosting output.

Meanwhile, investors may watch energy stocks like Whiting Petroleum Corporation WLL and Continental Resources, Inc. CLR. Both the companies are expected to benefit if oil price stays healthy.

Whiting Petroleum is a leading upstream energy company and is the top producer of crude oil in North Dakota. With oil prices improving at a healthy pace, Whiting Petroleum is expected to continue generating handsome cash flows while maintaining a healthy balance sheet.

Headquartered in Denver, CO, Whiting Petroleum has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2021 in the past 30 days. Looking at the price chart, WLL has gained 151.7% year to date, outpacing the 94.4% improvement of the composite stocks belonging to the industry. WLL currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Continental Resources is also a leading upstream energy company with proven reserves in North Dakota and Oklahoma. The oil inventories of Continental Resources are among the best in the industry.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Continental Resources has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2021 in the past 30 days. Considering the price chart, CLR has gained 163.9% so far this year, outpacing the 94.3% improvement of the composite stocks belonging to the industry. Continental Resources currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).


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