U.S. Oil Rigs Decline by Most Since 1992 in Baker Hughes Count

Oil drilling rigs in the U.S. dropped by the most in a single week in 20 years, oil-services company Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) said.

Oil rigs dropped by 41 to 1,340, the lowest level since April. They dropped by 44 in the week of Dec. 18, 1992. It was the fifth straight decline.

The energy rig count fell by 25 to 1,774, according to data posted on Baker Hughes’ website. Gas rigs rose by 13 to 429, the Houston-based company said.

The oil count declined last quarter for the first time since 2009 as more efficient drilling operations boosted crude supplies to near a 12-year high and a drop in crude prices curbed companies’ demand for rigs.

The U.S. natural gas rig count has shrunk to less than a third of its peak in August 2008 because of a switch from dry gas to more profitable crude and natural gas liquids drilling.

Natural gas for January delivery rose 14.2 cents, or 4.3 percent, to settle at $3.462 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday. Prices are up 16 percent this year as of yesterday.

Crude for February delivery on the Nymex gained 62 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $90.13 a barrel yesterday. Oil prices are down 8.8 percent for the year as of yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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