Nov. 30–A reduction in offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico triggered a small dip in the nation’s rig count.
The number of rigs drilling for oil and gas fell by three in the last week, including the loss of two offshore rigs in the Gulf, according to weekly data collected by Baker Hughes, a GE company.
West Texas’ booming Permian Basin stayed flat with no net gains or losses, but Texas dipped by one rig overall.
The U.S. is down to 1,076 active rigs, with nearly half of them — 531 rigs — operating in Texas, according to Baker Hughes.
Of the total, 887 of the rigs are drilling for oil, with the remained seeking natural gas. The Permian in West Texas and New Mexico counts 493 rigs, which is 56 percent of the nation’s oil rigs.
Crude oil prices have fallen from more than $75 a barrel in early October down to about $51 per barrel, triggering a small decline in drilling activity thus far.
Because of pipeline shortages in West Texas, many companies are continuing to drill Permian wells while leaving more of them uncompleted until new pipelines come online.
The total count is up from an all-time low of 404 rigs in May 2016.
With this week’s dip, the oil rig count is down 45 percent from its peak of 1,609 in October 2014, before oil prices began plummeting. However, rigs today are able to drill more wells than before and to deeper depths to produce more oil and gas. That’s largely why the U.S. is producing record volumes of crude oil and natural gas.
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