U.S. Energy Rigs Gain 13 to 1,791, Baker Hughes Says

Oil and gas rigs in the U.S. rose by 13 to 1,791 this week, reaching the highest level this year, according to Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) The increase was the sixth in seven weeks.

Oil rigs rose 12 to 1,397, the Houston-based field services company said on its website. Gas rigs added two to 388. Miscellaneous rigs fell by one to six.

The total U.S. count is down 123 from a year earlier as producers use more efficient and mobile equipment to bore multiple wells off the same drilling pads, cutting rig times and helping boost domestic crude production to the highest level in more than 23 years. The surge in output helped the U.S. meet 87 percent of its energy needs in the first four months of 2013, on pace to be the highest annual rate since 1985.

“We’re finally seeing oil rigs reflect higher prices,” James Williams, president of WTRG Economics in London, Arkansas, said by telephone. “We should expect continued strength in oil drilling while gas will probably stay fairly flat.”

U.S. oil output climbed 11,000 barrels a day to 7.57 million, the highest level since December 1989. Stockpiles fell a second week, losing 2.81 million barrels to 360.5 million, a seven-month low.

Crude for September delivery declined 76 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $106.57 a barrel today on the Nymex, up 11 percent in the past year.

Natural gas for September delivery fell 4.9 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $3.37 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 24 percent from a year ago.

U.S. gas stockpiles gained 65 billion cubic feet last week to 3.006 trillion, bigger than the five-year seasonal average increase of 42 billion, the Energy Information Administration said 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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