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US Oil & Gas Rig Count Flat, Still at April 2020 High Mark

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In its weekly release, Baker Hughes Company BKR reported that the U.S. rig count was flat with the prior week.

More on the Rig Count

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.

A change in the Houston-based oilfield service player’s rotary rig count impacts demand for energy services like drilling completion and production, provided by the likes of Halliburton Company HAL, Schlumberger Limited SLB and Transocean Ltd. RIG.

Details

Total US Rig Count Flat: The count of rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States was 470 for the week through Jun 25,in line with the prior-week count. Thus, the tally was maintained at the highest mark since April 2020. Notably, the current national rig count is higher than the year-ago level of 265.

The number of onshore rigs for the week ended Jun 25 totaled 454, lower than the prior-week count of 456. However, in offshore resources, 14 rigs were operating, higher than the prior-week count of 13.

US Oil Rig Count Decreases: Oil rig count was 372 for the week ended Jun 25, lower than the prior-week count of 373. Investors should also note that the current tally of oil rigs — far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014 — is, however, higher than the year-ago figure of 188.

Natural Gas Rig Count Increases in US: Natural gas rig count of 98 increased from the prior-week count of 97. Moreover, 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 almost 94% below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 19 units, lower than the prior-week count of 20. However, 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 451 compared favorably with the prior-week level of 450.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Raises: GoM rig count was 14 units, of which all were oil-directed. The count was higher than the prior-week tally of 13.

Rig Count in Prolific Basins

Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — recorded a weekly oil rig tally of 236, lower than the prior-week count of 237. Importantly, the tally for oil drilling rigs in the basin decreased after increasing for two straight weeks. Notably, in the Cana Woodford, the tally for oil drilling rig was 17, higher than the prior-week count of 15.

Outlook

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude, trading at more than $73 per barrel mark, has improved drastically from the pandemic-hit April last year, when oil was in the negative territory. With coronavirus vaccines being rolled out at 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 focusing mainly on stockholder returns rather than boosting output.

Meanwhile, investors may keep an eye on two energy stocks that are expected to benefit if oil price continues to stay healthy — Whiting Petroleum Corporation WLL and Earthstone Energy, Inc. ESTE. While Whiting Petroleum sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Earthstone Energy carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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Transocean Ltd. (RIG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Schlumberger Limited (SLB) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Halliburton Company (HAL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Baker Hughes Company (BKR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Whiting Petroleum Corporation (WLL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Earthstone Energy, Inc. (ESTE) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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