US rig count steady at 952: Baker Hughes

rig count

The US rig count remained steady this week, remaining at 952. Nabors photo.

US rig count over double this time last year

On Friday, Baker Hughes released its much anticipated rig count.  Data from the oil services giant showed the US count remained steady at 952 and the number of rigs operational in Canada was up by 16.

The rig count is over double what it was this time last year when it stood at 447.

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Oil prices rose in choppy trading on Friday after the International Energy Agency reported Chinese crude imports had increased by 13.6 per cent in the first six months of the year compared to the same time last year.

Benchmark Brent crude futures were up 54 cents to $48.96/barrel by 12:32 p.m. EDT and US WTI crude futures were up 55 cents to $46.63.

“I think the big driver is inventory numbers,” Stewart Glickman, head of energy research at CFRA Research told Reuters.  He added “We’ve finally broken below 500 million barrels, I feel like it’s a psychological barrier.”

The US Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that US crude stocks fell by 7.6 million barrels last week.  It was the biggest drop in crude inventories in 10 months.

Oil stocks are still above the five-year average and prices are over 16 per cent down from their 2017 highs.

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics published on Thursday showed drilling costs in the United States were up 8 per cent last month compared to recent lows in November.

The increase in drilling costs has yet to reverse the 34 per cent decline reported between March 2014 and November 2016, but it does mark a turning point in the oilfield services costs cycle.

Drilling costs had been slashed to win contracts from producers struggling with low oil prices.

In Canada, the rig count increased by 16 and now stands at 191.

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