The total rig count has advanced six out of eight weeks as producers boost their drilling programs in response to a surge in crude prices this year and a rebound in gas futures. The increase 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.
Natural gas for September delivery fell 5.6 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $3.489 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 25 percent from a year ago.
U.S. gas stockpiles gained 57 billion cubic feet last week to 3.063 trillion, bigger than the five-year average gain for the week of 56 billion cubic feet, the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said yesterday. Supplies were 7.2 percent below year-earlier inventories.
U.S. oil output slipped 53,000 barrels a day to 7.52 million after hitting the highest level since December 1989 a week earlier. Stockpiles fell a third week, losing 1.43 million barrels to 359.1 million.
Crude for October delivery rose $1.67, or 1.6 percent, to $106.70 a barrel today on the Nymex, up 16 percent in the past year.
Oil production in Texas’s Eagle Ford shale formation rose 60 percent in June from a year earlier to 617,884 barrels of crude a day, preliminary data released by the Texas Railroad Commission, show.
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