Rig count jumps by 20; largest increase in two years

baker hughes walking rig

The number of oil and gas rigs in U.S. fields boomed this week, rising by 20 — the largest jump since the peak of the shale oil boom two years ago.

U.S. oil drillers collectively sent 19 more rigs into the patch, the Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday. Gas drillers added one rig.

The rise was driven largely by drillers in West Texas’ Permian Basin, which added 11 rigs.

The total rig count rose to 588, up from a low of 404 in May. U.S. oil companies haven’t added this many rigs since May of 2014, when oil was still bringing $100 a barrel.

The count, however, still lags the same period last year, when 757 drilling rigs were operating in U.S. oil and gas fields.

The number of active oil rigs jumped to 471 this week. Gas rigs ticked up to 116. Even the number of offshore rigs rose, by 3 to 23, down 7 year over year.

Total rig counts lifted by eight in Texas, four in Louisiana, four in Oklahoma, three in Ohio and two in Colorado. They fell by one in North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Drilling activity has followed the modest rebound in prices, from February’s low of about $26 a barrel to more than $50 in recent weeks.

Prices stabilized this week at about $45 a barrel.