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US Oil & Gas Plays Witness Uptick in Rig Tally After 23 Weeks

In its weekly release, Baker Hughes Company BKR reported an increase in the U.S. rig count.

More on the Rig Count

Baker Hughes’ data, issued at the end of every week since 1944, helps energy service providers gauge the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.

A change in the Houston-based oilfield service player’s rotary rig count affects demand for energy services like drilling, completion and production, provided by the likes of Halliburton Company HAL, Schlumberger Limited SLB and Transocean Ltd. RIG.

Details

Total US Rig Count Increases: Rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States increased for the first time since March to 254 in the week through Aug 21, compared with the prior-week all-time low mark of 244, thanks to recovering oil prices. The current national rig count is, however, below the prior year’s 916.

The number of onshore rigs in the week ending Aug 21 totaled 240 versus the previous week’s 230. Notably, the tally of rigs operating offshore plays through the week till Aug 21 was 13, in line with the prior week count. Moreover, one rig operated in inland waters same as in the prior week.

US Includes 11 Oil Rigs: Oil rig count was 183 in the week through Aug 21, compared with 172 in the week ended Aug 14. Notably, the tally has increased the most since the week ended Jan 17. Investors should also note that the current tally of oil rigs, far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014, is, however, below the year-ago 754.

Natural Gas Rig Count Decreases in US: The natural gas rig count of 69 was lower than the prior-week count of 70. Moreover, the count of rigs exploring the commodity is lower than the prior-year week’s 162. Importantly, per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is 95.7% below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 13 units, in line with the prior-week count. Moreover, the horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling technology with the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock formations, also known as shale formations) of 241 was higher than the prior-week level of 231. 

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Flat: The GoM rig count is 13 units, of which all were oil-directed. The count was in line with the prior-week count.

Rig Count in The most Prolific Basin

Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — saw a surge in oil rig tally of 10 in the week ended Aug 21. Notably, the basin saw the biggest weekly gain since December.

Outlook

With oil prices recovering rapidly – the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude has improved more than 265% since late April – since economies are reopening, most analysts opine that the weekly rig count will continue to increase. Meanwhile, investors may keep an eye on two energy stocks which are expected to benefit if the oil price rally sustains – Devon Energy Corporation DVN and Diamondback Energy Inc. FANG. Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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Transocean Ltd. (RIG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Schlumberger Limited (SLB): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Halliburton Company (HAL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Devon Energy Corporation (DVN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Diamondback Energy, Inc. (FANG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Baker Hughes Company (BKR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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