The nation’s tally of active drilling rigs held flat this week as rising U.S. crude oil prices flirted with the $60 per barrel threshold, according to the weekly count from the Houston oilfield services firm Baker Hughes.
For a U.S. energy sector that’s shed more than 25 percent of its active rigs this year, even holding steady can be seen as a small win.
Crude prices are currently being bolstered by this week’s agreement from the U.S. and China to reduce some tariffs, as well as last week’s deal for OPEC and Russia to further reduce their production outputs in the first quarter of 2020.
The U.S. rig count stayed at 799 active rigs, but this month is still the first time the rig count is below the 800 mark since early 2017 when the industry was rebounding from the last oil bust.
This week, there are four more rigs drilling for oil, but four fewer for natural gas. Oil-seeking rigs make up 667 of the 799-rig total.
Both Texas and the still-booming Permian Basin are home to exactly 400 rigs apiece, according to Baker Hughes, with each just above 50 percent of the nation’s total.
The Permian can count just as many rigs as all of Texas because nearly one quarter of the Permian’s rigs extend into New Mexico.
Texas’ western neighbor now has more than twice as many active rigs as Oklahoma or North Dakota.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.