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Why the US Crude Oil Rig Count Hit an 11-Week Low


Sep. 11 2017, Updated 5:36 p.m. ET

US crude oil rig count 

On September 8, energy services company Baker Hughes (BHI) released its weekly US crude oil rig count report. It reported that the US crude oil rig count fell by three to 756 from September 1 to 8. The US crude oil rig count fell 0.4% week-over-week. Rigs fell for the third time in four weeks. They’re also at an 11-week low.

Rigs have slowed due to lower crude oil (RYE)(SCO)(UCO) prices in the past few months. The chart below shows the relationship between crude oil rigs and crude oil prices. Lower crude oil prices have a negative impact on oil producers and drillers such as Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO), Warren Resources (WRES), Atwood Oceanics (ATW), Transocean (RIG), and Diamond Offshore (DO).

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Peak and low  

The US crude oil rig count hit a record 1,609 in October 2014. Rigs hit 316 in May 2016—the lowest level since the 1940s. US crude oil rigs have risen by 440 or 140% from the low in May 2016.

Monthly international rig count 

Baker Hughes’s international oil and gas rig count excludes data from the United States and Canada. It estimates that the international crude oil rig count fell by eight to 715 in August 2017—compared to the previous month. The international crude oil rig count fell 1.1% month-over-month but rose by 45 or 6.6% YoY (year-over-year).


US crude oil rigs are at the lowest level since June 2017. It suggests crude oil rigs could slow down further if crude oil (XLE)(XOP) prices don’t rise in the short term

See Why Hedge Funds May Be Turning Bearish on US Crude for more information on crude oil price forecasts.

Also, see How India’s Crude Oil Imports, Production, and Demand Impact Prices and Harvey’s Impact on US Supply, Demand, Crude Oil, and Gas to learn more.

For updates on natural gas, see Hurricane Harvey Has Impacted Natural Gas Supplies and Prices.


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