The active number of drilling rigs continues to grow thanks to increasing activity in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.
The overall rig count grew by five – up to 1,008 – courtesy of four rigs added to the Gulf and three in Texas. The loss of two rigs drilling for natural gas kept the rig count from growing higher.
As oil prices have risen for much of the last year or so, the rig count has steadily climbed, finally rising above 1,000 rigs a week ago for first time since April 2015.
Oil drilling currently accounts for 815 rigs of the total.
U.S. oil was selling above $67 a barrel in early afternoon trading in New York.
West Texas’ Permian Basin now accounts for 445 rigs, which is more than half of all the nation’s oil rigs. The next most active area is South Texas’ Eagle Ford shale with 75 rigs. Texas is home to 501 rigs overall, while Oklahoma is second with 128 rigs. New Mexico is next with 89 rigs.
Despite this week’s jump, the oil rig count is down 49 percent from its peak of 1,609 in October 2014, before oil prices began plummeting.
However, companies are producing more oil with fewer rigs by drilling more frequent and deeper wells, pushing U.S. oil production to record levels without requiring nearly as many rigs.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.