Baker Hughes (BHGE) reported Friday that U.S. oil and gas producers took one rig offline during the past week, bringing the Houston oilfield services provider's total count to 935.
BHGE's data showed the oil rig count fell by five week over week to 744, while the natural gas rig count rose by four to 190. Meanwhile, the U.S. offshore rig count, now at 19, is up two week over week and down one year over year.
Baker Hughes rig count is now up 424 rigs since this time in 2016, with oil rigs up 326, natural gas rigs up 98 and miscellaneous rigs flat. Last week, the rig count fell by eight overall, with seven oil rigs and one natural gas rig coming offline.
The news comes as West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices are set to end the week above $50 a barrel for the first time since May 19, likely propelled by slightly bullish inventory data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Energy. WTI futures were down slightly to $50.48 a barrel around the 1 p.m. Baker Hughes report.
The DOE's Energy Information Administration reported a large crude oil inventory build of 4.6 million barrels, which was more than offset by a large refined petroleum products draw, with gasoline down 2.1 million barrels and distillates down 5.7 million barrels.
U.S. crude oil production, excluding Alaska, was estimated at 9.05 million barrels per day, according to the EIA, very close to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels.
The impacts of Harvey continue to resonate throughout the Gulf Coast, however, with crude oil imports improving only moderately to 7.37 million barrels per day and refiner utilization only at 73%, compared to a 4-week average of 92.6% in the same period last year. Refining throughput of 15.2 million barrels per day is still more than 2 million barrels per day less than pre-Harvey, according to investment bank and research firm Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.
"We are noticing interesting seasonal declines in some products, suggesting product prices could remain a bit elevated deeper into late 2017, in our opinion -- a slightly bullish signal," analysts at investment bank and research firm Seaport Global Securities wrote in a research note Thursday.
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