U.S. drillers cut oil rigs for second week in three – Baker Hughes

U.S. drillers cut oil rigs for second week in three – Baker Hughes

Permian Basin Drilling Rig

U.S. energy firms cut oil rigs for a second week in three, data showed on Friday, with drillers cutting spending plans in reaction to declining crude prices.

Drillers cut five oil rigs in the week to Aug. 18, bringing the total count down to 763, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its report on Friday.

That compares with 406 active oil rigs during the same week a year ago. Drillers have added rigs in 56 of the past 64 weeks since the start of June 2016.

The rig count is an early indicator of future output.

U.S. production is expected to rise to 9.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 and a record 9.9 million bpd in 2018 from 8.9 million bpd in 2016, according to federal projections.

Those output gains have pressured crude prices lower in recent months, prompting several exploration and production (E&P) companies.

Those companies and others had mapped out ambitious spending programs for 2017 when they expected U.S. oil prices to be higher than the near $48.50 per barrel range where they are currently trading.

Despite recently announced spending cuts, the E&Ps still plan to spend much more this year than last year.

(Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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