Texas adds 16 rigs, but panhandle wins; only 2 in Permian

A drilling site in the Haynesville Shale. (James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle file photo)

The number of oil and gas rigs in U.S. fields rose for the fifth straight week, another sign of optimism in the industry, despite stagnating oil prices.

This week’s count jumped 10, a boom of almost 350 rigs since the count fell to its recent low last spring. U.S. oil drillers collectively sent six more rigs into the patch this week, the Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday. Gas drillers added four.

Texas added 16 rigs — but the story, this week, wasn’t the Permian Basin, which has dominated the industry’s rebound so far. Instead, drillers added five rigs in the Texas Panhandle’s Granite Wash oil field, three in the gassy Haynesville play, and only two in the Permian.

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The total rig count rose to 751, up from a low of 404 in May, and up 237 rigs year over year.

The number of active oil rigs jumped to 597 this week, gas rigs to 153. The number of offshore rigs dipped again, by three to 18, down seven rigs year over year.

Outside of Texas, however, most rig counts fell this week: Louisiana lost three, New Mexico two, Alaska, North Dakota and Oklahoma one. Only Utah added one.

Drilling activity has continued to rise despite oil prices that have stalled above $50 for weeks.

U.S. oil prices settled on Thursday at $53.36, up 25 cents or less than 1 percent, and was dipping a bit in midday trading Friday.