On November 3, 2017, Baker Hughes published the US oil rig count report. It estimated that US oil rigs fell by eight to 729 on October 27–November 3, 2017. US oil rigs have fallen by 39 or 5.3% since August 2017 due to stalling oil (DTO) (DWT) (UWT) prices in the past few months. The rigs were at the lowest level since May 2017.
Slowing rigs could slow down US shale production. Any fall in US crude oil production is bullish for crude oil (DBO) (OIL) prices. Slowing rigs partially supported oil prices. US crude oil prices are near a three-year high. High oil prices benefit oil drillers (IEZ) (XES) like Atwood Oceanics (ATW), Halliburton (HAL), Schlumberger (SLB), and Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO).
Peak and low
US oil rigs tested an all-time high of 1,609 in October 2014. In contrast, the rigs hit 316 in May 2016—the lowest level since the 1940s. The rigs have risen by 413 or 131% since May 2016 due to higher crude oil prices in 2016.
Schlumberger and Baker Hughes are the largest oilfield service companies in the world. They expect that US shale production is slowing. However, US crude oil crude oil prices have risen more than 30% since the lows in June 2017 due to multiple bullish drivers discussed previously in this series. Higher oil prices could increase US drilling and production and pressure oil (USO) (UCO) prices.
Read Will OPEC Drive the US Natural Gas Market in 2018? and Global Crude Oil Glut: Is It Shrinking? for the latest updates on crude oil and natural gas.