US crude oil rig count
Baker Hughes (BHI) released its weekly US crude oil rig count on April 28, 2017. It reported that crude oil rigs rose by nine to 697 on April 21–28, 2017. The US crude oil rig count has risen 40 times in the last 43 weeks. US crude oil rigs are at the highest level since April 24, 2015.
The US crude oil rig count has risen 1.3% week-over-week and 110% YoY (year-over-year). Rigs rose as crude oil (FXN) (DIG) (XES) (SCO) prices recovered from lows in early 2016. The rise in the crude oil rig count could increase US crude oil output and pressure crude oil prices in 2017. For more on crude oil prices, read Part 1 and Part 4 of this series.
Successful implementation of President Trump’s energy policies could also increase US drilling activity. It would be reflected in a higher number of active rigs.
Moves in crude oil (IEZ) (UCO) and natural gas (FCG) (BOIL) prices impact oil producers and drillers. A rise in US drilling activity would increase US crude oil production. In the short term, it would have a positive impact on companies’ earnings such as Diamond Offshore (DO), Rowan Companies (RDC), and Atwood Oceanics (ATW).
Peaks and lows
The US crude oil rig count peaked at 1,609 in October 2014. In contrast, it hit 316 in the week ending on May 27, 2016—the lowest level since the 1940s.
US drilling activity fell due to lower oil prices, which were the result of oversupply. Rigs rose ~120.6% from the lows in May 2016. As of April 28, 2017, US crude oil prices have risen ~88.2% from their 2016 lows.
In the last part of this series, we’ll take a look at some crude oil price forecasts.