By March 25, 2016 Read More →

Rig count hits record low – Texas loses 8, Permian Basin down to 152

Analysts say American E&P firms need $45/b WTI before resuming drilling

HOUSTON, Texas – The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped 12 this week to 464, a record low amid continuing price woes in the energy industry.

rig countA year ago, 1,048 rigs were active. Analysts expect the rig count will bottom in a month or two before recovering later this year if energy prices rise as expected.

Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Thursday 372 rigs sought oil and 92 explored for natural gas.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost eight rigs, Oklahoma three, Alaska two and Kansas and Pennsylvania each dropped by one.

Louisiana gained two rigs and New Mexico one.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

“Based on indications from exploration and production, activity can begin to increase at the $45 level. E&Ps are hedging when the 2017 strip is at or above $45,” analysts at Cowen & Co, a financial services firm, said in a note this week as reported by Yahoo.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It previously bottomed out at 488 in 1999.

The rig count, normally announced on Friday, was released a day early this week.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices pushed near $39/b Friday after languishing near $30 for weeks.

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