The number of oil rigs operating in the United States declined for the seventh straight week, as the dramatic fall in crude prices continues to shake U.S. producers.
According to the oilfield-service company Baker Hughes, the U.S. oil-rig count fell to 1,317, a 4 percent decline from the previous week. Since October 10, the oil-rig count is down 18 percent, as rigs continue to be taken out of service across the nation’s oil fields.
West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, was trading below $46 a barrel Friday afternoon, down more than 50 percent since July,
Earlier last week, research firm Wood McKenzie predicted the total number of U.S. land rigs – including those drilling for both oil and natural gas – would fall below 1,300 this year. At present, the total rig count is 1,633.
Natural-gas drilling appeared to rebound last week, with its rig count increasing 2 percent to 316.