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Permian Oil Drilling Rig Count Rises for Two Straight Weeks

In its weekly release, Baker Hughes Company BKR reported that the U.S. rig count was higher than the prior-week tally. The rotary rig count, issued by BKR, is usually published in major newspapers and trade publications.

Baker Hughes’ data, issued at the end of every week since 1944, helps energy service providers gauge the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry. The number of active rigs and its comparison with the prior-week figure indicates the demand trajectory for Baker Hughes’ oilfield services from exploration and production companies.

Details

Total U.S. Rig Count Increases: The count of rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States was 764 for the week ended Sep 23. The figure is higher thanthe prior week’s count of 763. Thus, the tally increased for two straight weeks. The current national rig count is higher than the year-ago level of 521.

The onshore rigs in the week ended Sep 23 totaled 744, in line with the prior-week count. In offshore resources, 16 rigs were operating, higher than the prior-week count of 15.

U.S. Oil Rig Count Rises: Oil rig count was 602 for the week ended Sep 23, higher than the prior week’s figure of 599. The current number of oil rigs — far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014 — is up from the year-ago figure of 421.

U.S. Natural Gas Rig Count Falls: Natural gas rig count of 160 was lower than the prior-week figure of 162. The count of rigs exploring the commodity is, however, higher than the prior-year week’s tally of 99. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is 90% lower than the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 25 units, higher than the prior-week count of 23. Horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling technology with the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock formations, also known as shale formations) of 739 is lower than the prior-week level of 740.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Rises: GoM rig count was 15 units, all oil-directed. The count was higher than the prior-week number of 14.

Rig Count in the Most Prolific Basin

Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — recorded a weekly oil rig tally of 339, higher than the prior week's count of 337. The tally increased for two straight weeks.

Outlook

The West Texas Intermediate crude price is trading at more than the $75-per-barrel mark, which is still extremely favorable for exploration and production activities. Solid oil price will likely pave the way for further rig additions despite a slowdown in drilling activities, as upstream players mainly focus on stockholder returns rather than boosting output.

Investors may keep a close eye on energy stocks like EOG Resources EOG and Continental Resources, Inc. CLR, as these companies are expected to benefit from the current healthy oil price scenario.

EOG Resources, a leading oil and natural gas exploration and production company currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), is well-placed to capitalize on the promising business scenario. EOG has an estimated 11,500 net undrilled premium locations, resulting in a brightened production outlook. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

EOG Resources is strongly committed to returning capital to shareholders. Since it transitioned to premium drilling, the company has returned roughly $10 billion in cash to stockholders. With the employment of premium drilling, EOG will be able to reduce its cash operating costs per barrel of oil equivalent, thereby aiding its bottom line.

Continental Resources is also a leading upstream energy company with proven reserves in North Dakota and Oklahoma. The oil inventories of Continental Resources are among the best in the industry.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Continental Resources has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2022 and 2023 in the past 30 days. The Zacks Rank #3 firm has gained 36.1% in the past year, outpacing the 21.6% rise of the composite stocks belonging to the industry.


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