The number of oil rigs operating in the US fell for a second-straight week, holding at the lowest in 16 months as prices for crude head for a weekly decrease as demand projections dimmed.
Energy-services firm Baker Hughes (BHGE) said oil rigs in the world’s biggest crude consumer fell by one to 788 through Friday. That’s also down 75 rigs from the same period of 2018, the Houston-based company said.
Prices for West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, were heading for a weekly loss of 2.7%, even as the contract was stronger on the day, as the International Energy Agency cut its second-quarter demand growth forecast on Friday and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced its view for the 2019 rise in demand on Thursday.
WTI was up 0.6% in afternoon trading to $52.59 a barrel while Brent, the international standard, was up 1.2% to $62.04 a barrel.
Baker Hughes said the total US rig count was down by six in the week to 969, as gas rigs fell by five to 181. A year ago, the US had 194 gas rigs in operation, for a total of 1,059.
In North America, the rig count fell by two to 1,076, and that’s a drop of 122 from the same period of 2018. Canada’s tally rose by a total of four to 107 this week, but that’s still down by 32 from the comparable week of last year. The country’s oil-rig count rose by 10 in the week to 69 and gas was down by six to 38. A year ago, Canada had 87 oil and 52 gas rigs working.