Oil rigs declined by five to 747, while gas rigs climbed by two to 189, bringing the total U.S. rig count to 936. There are 196 more oil rigs than there were during the same period last year as producers boost drilling in the oil-rich Permian Basin in west Texas, where six rigs were brought online this week. Gas rigs increased by 47 year-over-year.
Global benchmark Brent crude futures fell 0.9% to $68.64 at 1:30 p.m. EST on Friday, while West Texas Intermediate contracts for March delivery fell 1% to $63.29.
Oil prices tumbled early Friday after the International Energy Agency, or IEA, forecast sharp growth in U.S. oil supply this year.
"The big 2018 supply story is unfolding fast in the Americas," the IEA said in a Jan. 19 report. "Explosive growth in the U.S. and substantial gains in Canada and Brazil will far outweigh potentially steep declines in Venezuela and Mexico."
The Paris-based agency expects the gains in the U.S., Canada and Brazil to drive up non-OPEC supply by 1.7 million barrels per day in 2018. "U.S. crude supply will push past 10 million barrels per day, overtaking Saudi Arabia and rivaling Russia," the IEA said.
The world's largest oilfield services company Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) - Get Reporthighlighted the positive outlook for North America in its earnings announcement on Friday morning, noting that E&P companies predict 15% to 20% growth in North American investments in 2018.
"In North America, 2018 shale oil production is set for another year of strong growth, as the positive oil market sentiments will likely increase both investment appetite and availability of financing," Schlumberger Chairman and Chief Executive Kibsgaard said in a statement.
"The oil market is now in balance and the previous oversupply discount is gradually being replaced by a market tightness premium, which makes us increasingly positive on the global outlook for our business," said Kibsgaard.
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