Oil rig count rises slightly in Permian basin

Baker Hughes news
Baker Hughes news

Drilling activity increased slightly in the Permian Basin this week while the overall U.S. rig count remained steady.

The number of rigs drilling for crude oil or natural gas grew by two rigs this week, one for oil and one for gas, according to data collected by Houston energy services firm Baker Hughes, a GE company.

Texas added three rigs for the week, all in the prolific Permian basin near Midland. The count in the Eagle Ford remained flat.

Colorado and Louisiana added a combined three rigs, while Oklahoma, North Dakota and Wyoming lost a collective five.

The overall uptick occurred even as oil prices fluctuated on news that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would consider raising output after capping it for more than a year. The U.S. oil benchmark hovered at $65 a barrel Friday, while the European and North Sea benchmark traded at about $76 a barrel.

There are now 862 rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. with more than half of them – 477 – located in the Permian. There are 198 gas rigs and two miscellaneous rigs, bringing the total rig count of 1,062, the highest count since March 2015.

After the Permian, South Texas’ Eagle Ford shale is the nation’s most active basin with 80 rigs. The Cana-Woodford shale basin in Oklahoma followers with  with 73 rigs.

Texas accounts for 538 rigs overall, just under half of the nation’s total. Oklahoma has the second-highest count with 140 rigs. New Mexico comes in third with 90 rigs.

This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.