Home Energy services US oil and gas rig count falls for first time in 31 weeks – Baker Hughes

US oil and gas rig count falls for first time in 31 weeks – Baker Hughes

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A drill crew member lifts the drill pipe on the ground of the drilling rig on an oil rig in the Permian Basin near Wink, Texas, U.S., August 22, 2018. Photo taken August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

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May 27 (Reuters) – U.S. energy companies cut oil and gas rigs this week for the first time in 31 weeks, but rig counts even rose for a record 22nd consecutive month.

The weekly drop in the number of rigs comes as some publicly traded U.S. companies continue to focus more on returning cash to shareholders and paying down debt than increasing production.

The number of U.S. oil and gas rigs, an early indicator of future production, fell by one to 727 in the week to May 27, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said in its tracking report on Friday. from close. , ,

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Despite the platform’s decline this week, Baker Hughes said the total number was still up 270, or 59%, from the same time last year.

In May, the total number of oil and gas rigs rose by 29, the largest monthly increase since February.

US oil rigs fell two to 574 this week, their first drop in 10 weeks, while gas rigs rose one to 151 to their highest level since September 2019.

For the month, the number of oil rigs rose for a record 21 straight months, while the number of gas rigs rose for a ninth straight month, the most since May 2017.

Even though the number of rigs has increased every month since August 2020, weekly increases have been mostly single digits and oil production is still below pre-pandemic record highs as many companies focus more about getting money back to investors and paying off debt than about increasing production. .

Since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24, the US government has urged drillers to produce more oil and gas to reduce domestic prices and help allies break their dependence on Russian energy. .

U.S. crude production was on track to drop from 11.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to 11.9 million bpd in 2022 and 12.9 million bpd in 2023, according to energy data federal. This compares to a record 12.3 million bpd in 2019. read more

But with oil prices up around 53% so far this year after climbing 55% in 2021, a growing number of energy companies have said they plan to increase spending for a second year. in a row in 2022 after cutting spending on drilling and completions in 2019 and 2020. .

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Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy

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