Oil Rig Count Extends Advance

US Natural Gas Rig Count Hit December 2015 High

Overall, the US land rig count's first quarter average of 719 units was 27% above fourth quarter numbers, Stephens oilfield services analysts Christopher Denison and Brooks Braden said in a Friday research note.

USA oil and natural gas producers added ten rigs in the past week, bringing Baker Hughes' (BHI) rig count to a total of 857 units. Most wells produce both oil and gas.

The price of oil was immune to this round of OPEC's kind-word offerings-or rather "recoiled" would be a more apt description. However, the oil rig count has generally been rising since the summer. Prices have now reverted, losing about half of what had been gained since December.

USA oil production will continue to increase in the short term given the number of new rigs coming on stream this year.

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US drillers added oil rigs for a 14 week in a row, extending an 11-month recovery that is expected to boost USA shale production in May in the biggest monthly increase in more than two years. By the end of this week, 857 rigs were operating in the United States.

The seductive Permian Basin-offering profits at even $40-something per barrel increased only by one this week, but has brought on nearly 50 rigs in the last three months, as drillers flock to the basin despite the rising cost of acreage there.

There was a small increase of 3 rigs for the Eagle Ford Basin for the week. The offshore count, now at 20 overall, is down six rigs year-over-year.

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