US energy rigs decline

By Lynn Doan
Bloomberg News

Rigs targeting oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 13 this week to 1,743, according to Baker Hughes Inc.

Oil rigs fell by five to 1,367, data posted on the company’s website show. The gas count dropped nine to 369, the Houston-based field services company said. Miscellaneous rigs, which usually drill for geothermal energy, rose one to seven.

The count declined in September by the most in nine months, losing 32, as producers leveraged new technologies to shorten drill times and bore more wells off single pads. The advances have weakened demand for new rigs and helped boost domestic oil production to the highest level in more than two decades.

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West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery fell $1.55, or 1.5 percent, to $101.46 a barrel at 1:11 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 10 percent in the past year.

U.S. oil output totaled 7.81 million barrels a day last week, near a 24-year high, according to the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. Stockpiles rose by 6.81 million barrels, or 1.9 percent, to 370.5 million.

Natural gas for November delivery rose 4.9 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $3.772 per million British thermal units on the Nymex, up 4.7 percent from a year ago.

U.S. gas stockpiles rose 90 billion cubic feet last week to 3.577 trillion, the EIA said yesterday. Supplies were 3.7 percent below year-earlier inventories, the agency said.