US oil and gas rig count falls, Permian takes biggest hit

Houston — Permian sees lowest rigs count since January 2018. Most of weekly decline was oil rigs, down 16 to 767

The US oil and gas rig count fell 21 to 966 on the week, according to Enverus DrillingInfo data released Thursday, with Permian Basin rigs taking by far the biggest hit. Permian rigs in the West Texas/New Mexico basin were down 15 in the past week, leaving 418. That is the lowest number since the first week of 2018. Overall, most of the week’s rig count decline was in oil-oriented rigs, which were down 16 to 767, Enverus said. Gas rigs dropped by 8 to 191, while there was a three-rig gain in rigs not classified as either oil or gas. Of the other seven major named US basins, the Dry Marcellus, largely in Pennsylvania, was down by three to 26 rigs. Two basins lost a rig each: The Denver-Julesburg Basin, mostly in Colorado, is now at 26 rigs, while the SCOOP-STACK play in Oklahoma is at 65. But the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Montana, which encompasses the Bakken Shale, gained a rig for a total 59. Four other basins remained the same week on week: the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas stayed at 73, the Haynesville Shale of East Texas and northwest Louisiana remained at 52, the Wet Marcellus, also mostly in Pennsylvania, kept to 19 rigs and the Utica Shale, largely in Ohio, held steady with 16 rigs. Permit approvals this week were down by 198 compared to last week, for total US approvals of 790. Permitting was down in virtually all basins; the largest single move was in the DJ Basin, down 243 to zero this week. In other basins, the Wet Marcellus was down 22 to 9, the Permian was down 21 to 106, the Eagle Ford was down 19 to 26, and the Williston was down 17 to 10. All other named basins were down by 11 or less, except in the Utica Shale, which recorded a five-permit gain for a total of 6. Pioneer’s 10-year plan calls for adding two to three rigs per year, but the company will not add more in response to any oil price run-up should that occur. If prices drop and stay there, the company may reevaluate so as not to harm its balance sheet, Sheffield said. But if WTI prices should rise to $70/b, Pioneer will “not add a single rig.”