Amid a rising rig count, oil prices fell sharply Friday after influential energy ministers said a group of two dozen producer nations could soon begin easing the production limits they put in place last year to drain a global crude glut.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude prices dropped below $68 a barrel, slipping further from this week’s peak of $72.83, its highest since November 2014. The contract finished the session down $2.83, or 4 percent, at $67.88 a barrel.
Meanwhile, Brent crude fell $2.35 to $76.44. The international benchmark for oil prices last week hit a 3½-year high of $80.50, also going back to November 2014.
Brent was down nearly 3 percent this week, breaking a six-week winning streak. U.S. crude was down almost 5 percent for the week.
The pause in the oil price rally could be good news for drivers. The national average for regular gasoline in the United States has risen to nearly $3 a gallon, the highest level since 2014, prior to a historic oil price crash.
Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil was up 15 at 859 this week. That was the largest weekly rise since the week ended Feb. 9.
Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas bound past the rest with a gain of 9 units to hit 534 rigs running. Oklahoma, Colorado, and Alaska each had a 2-unit gain to reach 140, 31, and 9 units, respectively.
North Dakota gained 1 rig to reach 56, as did West Virginia to reach 18.
Six states remained unchanged this week: Pennsylvania, 39; Wyoming, 26; Ohio, 23; California, 15; Utah, 8; and Arkansas, 1.
Three states dropped a single rig each: New Mexico, 91; Louisiana, 60; and Kansas, 0.
Summary of Major Plays – Ranked By Rig Count
– Permian Basin 478 rigs compared to last week’s 467 rigs
– Eagle Ford 78 rigs compared to last week’s 77 rigs
– Cana Woodford 73 rigs compared to last week’s 72 rigs
– Williston 57 rigs compared to last week’s 56 rigs
– Marcellus 56 rigs compared to last week’s 55 rigs
– Haynesville 54 rigs compared to last week’s 54 rigs
– DJ-Niobrara 25 rigs compared to last week’s 24 rigs
– Utica 24 rigs compared to last week’s 24 rigs
– Granite Wash 14 rigs compared to last week’s 14 rigs
– Arkoma Woodford 9 rigs compared to last week’s 9 rigs
Compiled and Published by GIB KNIGHT
Gib Knight is a private oil and gas investor and consultant, providing clients advanced analytics and building innovative visual business intelligence solutions to visualize the results, across a broad spectrum of regulatory filings and production data in Oklahoma and Texas. He is the founder of OklahomaMinerals.com, an online resource designed for mineral owners in Oklahoma.