Oil Struggles as Rig Count Rises
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for November delivery traded down Friday to settle at $50.35. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last Thursday that crude supplies had increased by 4.9 million barrels in the week ended October 7 and that gasoline supplies had fallen by 1.2 million barrels.
Brent LCOc1, the London-traded crude benchmark, settled down 8 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $51.95 a barrel. For the week, it closed flat.
U.S. natural gas prices have surged to the highest level for more than 18 months as stocks continue to build more slowly than normal despite the warm weather. The front month contract NGX16 closed at $3.28 MMBtu. Futures markets are sending an urgent signal to gas producers about the need for more drilling and to electric utilities to run gas-fired plants for fewer hours this winter to conserve stocks.
Gas stocks typically rise between April and October and then draw down between November and March. But stocks have increased much more slowly than usual this year.
While always difficult to calculate where crude oil prices will end the year, the market seems to be sending a signal at current price levels that a short-term top has been reached. The EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook indicates production falling in 2016 and rising again in 2017. U.S. fourth-quarter production is forecast to fall by 120,000 barrels a day and average 8.7 million barrels a day for 2016, rising to 8.8 million barrels a day in 2017.
Rig Count Summary
In the week ended on Friday, October 14th, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States totaled 432, up by four compared with the prior week and compared with a total of 595 a year ago. Including 105 other rigs drilling for natural gas and two rigs listed as “miscellaneous,” there is now a total of 539 working rigs in the country, up by 15 from a week ago and down 248 from last year.
Rigs drilling HZ wellbores jumped 18 while vertical rigs fell by 4.
Among the states, Louisiana added six rigs last week, New Mexico and Oklahoma added three each, Colorado added two and Alaska, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each added one. Texas lost three rigs last week.
In the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the rig count now stands at 201, down two compared with the previous week’s count. The Eagle Ford Basin in south Texas has 31 rigs in operation, down four, week over week, and the Williston Basin (Bakken) in North Dakota and Montana now has 30 working rigs, unchanged for the week.
Oklahoma Rig Count – Plus 3 (HZ +2 and Vertical +1)
The Oklahoma rig count climbed 3 from last week and now sits at 73, now down only 17% from the high of 88 reached back on January 29th of this year. The STACK counties of Blaine (+1), Canadian (-1) and Kingfisher (no change) lead the state rig count with a total of 33 or 45% of 73 total rigs drilling. Grady County had the biggest gain this last week picking up 3 new rigs. 72 of the 73 rigs are drilling HZ wellbores with one vertical rig still running in Ellis County.
Data gathered from the latest Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) North American Rotary Rig Count released on Friday, October 14, 2016.
For a compilation of data specific to statewide activity that includes and interactive and proprietary “Rig Count” Dashboard, Click here
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