Oil-directed rig count falls for seventh time in past eight weeks

The number of active U.S. oil and gas rigs fell to 664 this week, down 34 from a week ago and off 1,086 from the count a year ago, according to Baker Hughes’ data released today. The number of oil-directed rigs dropped by 20, falling for the seventh time in the past eight weeks. U.S. oil prices this week have fallen to a 12-year low and are trading near the $33/bbl level.

HPDI data shows 714 active rigs this week, down seven rigs from 721 a week ago and well below the 778 rigs active three weeks ago. The chart below (click on chart to expand in separate window) shows how the number of active rigs has fallen as WTI prices have dropped.rig count

Baker Hughes said U.S. drillers idled 963 oil rigs in 2015. That’s the first annual drop since 2002, and largest single-year decline since 1988. The company said that over the previous five years (2010-2014) producers had added an average of 216 oil rigs per year.

The rig count in Canada jumped by 83 week-over-week, doubling to 166, with Canadian operators able to move more rigs on frozen ground. The number of active rigs in Canada is still down 200 from a year ago.

Baker Hughes reported the December international rig count at 1,095, down 14 from the previous month and off 218 from December 2014.