Oil Prices Fall as Overall Rig Count Declines

Crude oil prices fell after the number of active drilling rigs in the U.S. declined this past week, Baker Hughes (BHGE) said Friday, Feb. 2.

U.S. oil producers brought six rigs online for a total of 765. Gas rigs, meanwhile, declined by seven to 181, bringing the overall total U.S. rig count to 946. There are 182 more oil rigs than there were during the same period last year; gas rigs have increased by 36 year over year.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate contracts for March delivery fell 0.9% to $65.23, while Brent crude futures, the global benchmark, declined 1.6% to $68.53 at 1 p.m. EST on Friday. WTI crude has risen about 5% this week.

Notably, the most rigs were added in the Haynesville Basin located in Louisiana and East Texas. The Permian Basin in West Texas, which has seen the greatest increase in drilling rigs year over year, did not add any new rigs in the past week.

But the oil-rich basin, which currently has 427 drilling rigs, will likely see more drilling rigs over the course of the year as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) announced plans earlier this week to triple its oil and gas production in the Permian by 2025.

This year, the supermajor oil company will ramp up drilling in the Permian and Bakken basins, adding at least 10 rigs for a total of 36 by year-end, Jeff Woodbury, vice president of investor relations at Exxon, said during a conference call with analysts on Friday.

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