U.S. exploration and production companies have added an extra 400+ rigs to target oil-bearing formations since the end of May 2016. The number of active oil-directed rigs has almost doubled over the last year, from 328 to 741, in one of the most remarkable recoveries on record, coming after one of the deepest slumps during the previous two years.
But the recovery in oil prices has stalled since February and prices are now no higher than they were a year ago. The active rig count is likely to peak in late June or July unless the price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude starts rising again above $50 per barrel.
Even with a possible slowdown in the rig count around the corner, the number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States climbed again, this week by 11—making it 21 weeks of consecutive gains—the longest growth streak since at least 1987, which is the earliest date that Baker Hughes Excel data is available.
The number of oil rigs in operation jumped up by 8 to 741, while gas rigs climbed by 3 to 185. Combined, the total rig count in the U.S. now stands at 927 rigs, up from 414 rigs a year ago today, when oil prices were higher than they are today.
Check out our proprietary and interactive Rig Count Dashboard.
Compiled and Published by GIB KNIGHT
Gib Knight is a private oil and gas investor and consultant, providing clients advanced analytics and building innovative visual business intelligence solutions to visualize the results, across a broad spectrum of regulatory filings and production data in Oklahoma and Texas. He is the founder of OklahomaMinerals.com, an online resource designed for mineral owners in Oklahoma.