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US Natural Gas Rig Count: Changed Its Course Last Week

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Natural gas rig count

In the US, there were 223 natural gas rigs operating in the week ending June 19—two more than in the previous week.

The fall in the natural gas rig count has slowed down in recent weeks. In aggregate, one natural gas rig was added in the four weeks ending June 19.

Since the beginning of this year, the number of natural gas rigs in operation dropped by 105. However, natural gas rigs seem to have stabilized in the past two months.

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What does this mean?

A higher number of natural gas rigs in operation suggests that natural gas producers like Ultra Petroleum (UPL), Newfield Exploration (NFX), Linn Energy (LINE), WPX Energy (WPX), and Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) are increasing their drilling activities. This could mean a rise in production.

In contrast, a fall in the number of rigs in operation indicates a slowdown in production growth or even a fall in production. This would be negative for these companies. WPX Energy accounts for 0.16% of the iShares U.S. Energy ETF (IYE).

Midstream companies like Williams Companies (WMB) as well as MLPs (master limited partnerships) specializing in natural gas storage and transport activities like AmeriGas Partners (APU), DCP Midstream Partners (DPM), and ONEOK Partners (OKS) could suffer if production falls—led by a fall in the natural gas rig count.

One-year comparisons

Natural gas rigs have been on a downward trend for about four years. The number of active natural gas rigs also fell over the last 12 months. A year ago, there were 311 natural gas rigs in operation. Currently, there are 223 rigs. That’s a fall of 88 rigs, or ~28%.

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