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US Natural Gas Rig Count Is Near a 4-Month Low

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Aug. 28 2017, Published 9:05 a.m. ET

US natural gas rig count 

Baker Hughes (BHI) released its US natural gas rig count report on August 25, 2017. It reported that the US natural gas rig count fell by two or 1.1% to 180 on August 18–25, 2017—the lowest level since May 19, 2017.

It suggests that natural gas rigs are slowing due to lower crude oil (XLE) (XOP) and natural gas (DGAZ) (FCG) prices in the last few months.

Lower crude oil and natural gas prices have a negative impact on drillers and producers’ earnings like Rowan Companies (RDC), Atwood Oceanics (ATW), and Range Resources (RRC).

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Highs and lows 

The US crude oil rig count hit a record of 1,609 rigs in October 2014. In contrast, rigs hit 316 in May 2016—the lowest level since the 1940s. Rigs have risen ~140% from the lows in May 2016. The US natural gas rig count rose 122.2% for the week ending August 25, 2017, from the same period in 2016.

Natural gas is often an associated product of crude oil. As a result, a rise in US crude oil rigs would also drive US natural gas production and natural gas prices.

US natural gas drilling activity  

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that US natural gas production in the seven shale regions would rise by 929 Mcf (million cubic feet) per day to 59,426 Mcf per day in September 2017—compared to August 2017.

Impact 

Natural gas rigs are near a four-month low. It suggests that crude oil and natural gas rigs could slow down unless crude oil and natural gas prices rise in the short term.

In the next part, we’ll discuss US natural gas production and consumption.

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