U.S. energy companies added oil and gas drilling rigs for a second week in a row, as rising oil prices prompted some drillers to return to the well.
The number of oil and gas rigs, an early indicator of future production, rose from 8 to 448 in the week to May 7, its highest level since April 2020, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday. Co (BKR.N) in its closely followed report. . ,,
That put the total platform count of 74 platforms, or 20%, more than at the same time last year. It has also increased 84% since falling to a record low of 244 in August 2020, according to data from Baker Hughes dating back to 1940.
U.S. oil rigs rose two to 344 this week, while gas rigs rose seven, the most in a week since December 2018, the highest since March 2020, to 103.
U.S. crude futures were trading around $ 65 a barrel on Friday, pushing the contract up about 34% so far this year after falling about 21% last year.
Completions and drilling activity have good momentum after some energy companies increased their spending plans for 2021 after cutting back in the past two years.
But since the increases have been small, with most companies focusing on shareholder returns rather than volume growth, drilling captivity has increased moderately.
“Listed companies prefer to preserve their cash flow to improve shareholder returns instead of increasing capex as has historically been the case with WTI above $ 60,” commodity intelligence firm Kpler said.
U.S. financial services firm Cowen & Co said the independent exploration and production (E&P) companies it tracks plan to increase spending by around 1% in 2021 compared to 2020. This follows investment reductions of around 49% in 2020 and 12% in 2019.
“Our outlook remains positive … It is likely that the number of platforms will be close to 600 before the end of the year,” said James Williams of WTRG Economics in Arkansas.
Enverus, an energy data provider with its own number of platforms, said the number of platforms active in the week to May 5 remained stable at 524.
Enverus said the most active operator remains Pioneer Natural Resources Co (PXD.N) with 30 platforms (up 21 year-over-year), nine of which have just been added by the acquisition of DoublePoint Energy on May 4.
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