By Scott DiSavino
Sept 29 (Reuters) - U.S. energy firms this week cut the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating for a second week in a row, reducing the rig count for a third consecutive quarter, energy services firm Baker Hughes BKR.O said in its closely followed report on Friday.
The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell by seven to 623 in the week to Sept. 29, the lowest since February 2022.RIG-USA-BHI, RIG-OL-USA-BHI, RIG-GS-USA-BHI
Baker Hughes said that puts the total rig count down 142, or 19%, below this time last year.
For the month, total oil and gas rigs in September fell by nine, their smallest monthly decline since April, dropping for a fifth month in a row.
Oil rigs fell for a 10th month in a row in September and for a third straight quarter.
For the month, gas rigs rose by one in September after falling by 13 in August.
While the total rig count fell by 51 in the third quarter, the cuts have slowed compared with a reduction of 81 in the second quarter as oil prices have rebounded due to tightening supplies.
Oil and gas activity in three key energy producing states has been rising with the latest jump in energy prices, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, signaling a turn in producers' sentiment even as their costs have risen.
In July, U.S. crude production grew to its highest since November 2019, while gas output hit a fresh record high, topping its previous peak in May, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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