U.S. oil drilling rig count increases for first time since June 2023

Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg September 10, 2023

(Bloomberg) – The number of oil rigs operating in the U.S. increased this week for the first time since June as crude prices soared, but drilling remains well below where it was at the beginning of the year.

Some 513 drill rigs are operating in the U.S., up one from the previous week, reversing a prolonged period of declines, according to data released Friday by Baker Hughes Co. The number of rigs drilling for gas declined by one, to 113.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude jumped nearly 10% in the past two weeks to more than $87 a bbl as the global interest-rate hiking cycle slows and oil supplies remained constrained, particularly by OPEC. Higher prices usually mean more activity in the U.S. oil patch. But producers are being much more disciplined with their capital spending of late, favoring returns to shareholders over excessive supply growth.

The number of operating oil rigs is about 17% lower than at the start of 2023, meaning it would take several weeks of steady increases just to make back this year’s reductions.

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