Energy rigs in US decline by 12, Baker Hughes reports

By Lynn Doan
Bloomberg News

Oil and gas rigs in the U.S. fell by 12 this week to 1,759, according to Baker Hughes Inc.

Oil rigs slipped by eight to 1,405, data posted on Baker Hughes’ website show. The gas count decreased by four to 349, the Houston-based field-services company said.

Energy rigs in the U.S. have fallen this month after five straight quarters of declines. The count is set to rebound this year as producers respond to an increase in oil an natural gas prices, according to London-based Barclays Plc.

“While we believe a material increase in activity throughout the major gas basins would likely require sustained prices above the $5 level, we do not expect this to materialize this year,” James C. West, an oil services and drilling analyst at Barclays’ investment-banking unit in New York, said in a research note June 17. “However, we continue to believe that current levels are supportive of an uptick in activity in low cost gas basins.”

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Natural gas for July delivery slid 8.1 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $3.796 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:25 p.m. New York time, up 49 percent from a year ago.

U.S. gas stockpiles expanded by 91 billion cubic feet in the week ended June 14 to 2.438 trillion cubic feet, down 19 percent from year-earlier inventories, the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said yesterday. Supply increases have exceeded the five-year average for three consecutive weeks.

Crude Production

U.S. oil output fell a second week, slipping 1.3 percent to 7.13 million barrels a day last week, EIA data show. Production reached 7.37 million barrels a day in the week ended May 3, the most since 1992. Stockpiles gained 313,000 barrels to 394.1 million, according to the EIA.

Crude for August delivery tumbled $1.41, or 1.5 percent, to $93.73 a barrel today on the Nymex. Prices have gained 2.2 percent this year.

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The number of permits issued for drilling in the U.S. Gulf slowed in the first five months of 2013, with 54 issued for new wells, down from 91 a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Tana Exploration and LLOG Exploration have been issued the most permits this year for drilling in the Gulf, according to a June 18 Bloomberg Industries analysis.

Oil output from North Dakota’s Bakken formation, the largest U.S. shale play, gained to a record 727,149 barrels a day in April, according to preliminary data compiled by the state Industrial Commission.