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US Natural Gas Rig Count Rises despite Falling Natural Gas Prices

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Natural gas rig count rises 

On September 18, Baker Hughes released its natural gas rig count report. It reported that the natural gas rig count rose by two to 198 for the week ending September 18, 2015. In contrast, the active natural gas rig count fell by six to 196 for the week ending September 11, 2015. The US active natural gas rig count rose for the third time in the last ten weeks.

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Natural gas rig count in 2014 

The total oil and gas rig count fell by six to 842 for the week ending September 18, 2015. Likewise, the crude oil and natural gas rig count fell by 16 to 848 for the week ending September 11, 2015. Currently, the total US crude oil and natural gas count is 1,089 lower than the level of 1,931 in 2014. Oil and gas rigs fell due to lower natural gas prices.

The current natural gas rig count is 40% lower than the level of 329 in 2014. The long-term lower natural gas prices, due to oversupply concerns, led to the fall in the natural gas rig counts.

Natural gas production also fell in recent months. However, natural gas productivity and lower drilling costs have been driving natural gas drilling activity despite lower natural gas prices. This could lead to a rise in drilling activity over the long term. This could benefit oil drillers like Superior (SPN), Schlumberger (SLB), and Halliburton (HAL). The volatility in natural gas prices also impacts energy ETFs like the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) and the SPDR Oil and Gas ETF (XOP).

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