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Permian Basin & Eagle Ford Crude Oil Rig Count Increases

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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 Rises: The count of rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States was 753 for the week ended Jun 24. The figure is higher thanthe prior week’s count of 740. The current national rig count is higher than the year-ago level of 470.

The onshore rigs in the week ended Jun 24 totaled 734 compared with the prior week’s count of 721. In offshore resources, 16 rigs were operating, in line with the prior-week count.

U.S. Oil Rig Count Rises: Oil rig count was 594 for the week ended Jun 24, higher than the prior week’s figure of 584. 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 372.

U.S. Natural Gas Rig Count Rises: Natural gas rig count of 157 was higher than the prior-week figure of 154. The count of rigs exploring the commodity is higher than the prior-year week’s tally of 98. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is 90.2% lower than the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 27 units, in line with the prior-week count. 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 726 compared favorably with the prior-week level of 713.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Flat: GoM rig count was 15 units, all oil-directed. The count was flat with the prior-week number.

Rig Count in the Most Prolific Basin

Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — recorded a weekly oil rig tally of 348, higher than the prior week's count of 344. In the Eagle Ford, the tally for weekly oil drilling rigs was 62, higher than the prior-week count of 60.

Outlook

The West Texas Intermediate crude price is trading higher than the $100-per-barrel mark, reflecting a massive improvement in the past year. Higher oil prices will likely pave the way for rig additions despite a slowdown in drilling activities as upstream players mainly focus on stockholder returns rather than boosting output.

Meanwhile, investors may keep a close eye on energy stocks like Whiting Petroleum Corporation WLL and Continental Resources, Inc. CLR. The companies are expected to benefit from the current healthy oil price scenario.

Whiting Petroleum is a leading upstream energy company and the top producer of crude oil in North Dakota. With oil prices improving rapidly, Whiting Petroleum is expected to continue generating handsome cash flows while maintaining a healthy balance sheet.

Headquartered in Denver, CO, Whiting Petroleum has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2022 and 2023 in the past 30 days. Looking at the price chart, WLL has gained 33% over the past year, outpacing the 15.5% rise of the composite stocks belonging to the energy sector. WLL currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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. Considering the price chart, Continental Resources — currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) — has gained 78.1% in the past year, outpacing the 15.5% rise of the composite stocks belonging to the sector.


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