U.S. oil and gas drilling activity increased for the third straight week, demonstrating new momentum for the energy sector heading into the holiday season.
Nine more rigs drills for oil were added throughout the country, although the natural gas rig count dipped by one, creating a net gain of eight rigs for the week. This follows a week that saw a big surge in gas rigs and a week before that which had another large jump in oil rigs.
Only Wyoming saw a big jump with four active drilling rigs added last week, while the other gains were spread out. Texas, Louisiana, Colorado and New Mexico each added one net rig, according to weekly data collected by Baker Hughes.
U.S. oil was selling above $57 a barrel in early afternoon trading in New York.
West Texas’ Permian Basin now accounts for 393 rigs, which is more than half of all the nation’s oil rigs. The next most active area is Oklahoma’s Cana-Woodford shale with 73 rigs, recently surpassing Texas’ Eagle Ford shale with 67 rigs. Texas is home to 450 rigs overall, while Oklahoma is second with 122 rigs. New Mexico is next with 69 rigs, having passed Louisiana for third.
Despite this week’s jump, the oil rig count is down 54 percent from its peak of 1,609 in October 2014, before oil prices began plummeting.