Oil rig count falls for 6th straight week

The US oil rig count fell to a fresh six-year low this week, by 11 to 332.

Data from driller Baker Hughes showed that the tally of gas rigs dropped by 1 to 87, taking the total rig count to 420.

Last week, the oil rig count fell by 8. The gas rig count fell by 1, and the total rig count was down 9 to 431.

When Baker Hughes released its quarterly earnings on Wednesday, it said it expects the North American rig count to stabilise in the second half of this year. It also cautioned that this doesn’t mean drilling activity will meaningfully increase.

Several energy companies have cut back capital spending plans to focus on maintaining liquidity and paying off debt, as revenue streams dried up in the wake of the oil crash.

Crude oil prices advanced steadily over the past week, gaining about 7% through Friday. After of the rig count data release, West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York were down 0.4% and near $45.83 per barrel.

Here’s the latest chart showing the plunge in oil rigs since late 2014:

4 29 16 oil rigs chart

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