U.S. drillers dispatch 9 oil rigs, with 6 in Permian Basin

Drillers put nine oil rigs back to work in U.S. fields last week, with the majority heading to the Permian Basin in West Texas, Baker Hughes said Friday.

The increased drilling activity brings the fleet of U.S. oil rigs up to 450, up by 134 machines since the count fell to its annual low in late May.

Six oil rigs began work in the Permian Basin; two, in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, and two others became active in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas and the Colorado’s DJ Basin. One oil rig went idle in an unnamed field, the Houston oil field services company said.

The number of oil rigs working across the nation has increased in 20 of the past 23 weeks, a reaction to the price of U.S. oil climbing to $50 a barrel last month.

Since reaching an annual peak in mid-October, U.S. crude prices have fallen 15 percent. In mid-day trading Friday, the benchmark price fell 65 cents to $44.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Drillers also dispatched three natural gas rigs last week, one to Oklahoma’s Arkoma Woodford basin, another to the Eagle Ford and a third to the Haynesville in Louisiana. The nation’s total rig count has climbed to 569 units, up from 404 in May.