U.S. Energy Rig Count Gains 8 to 1,762, Baker Hughes Says

Rigs targeting oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by eight this week to 1,762, according to Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI)

Oil rigs increased two to 1,385, data posted on the company’s website show. The gas count gained five to 370, the Houston-based field services company said. Miscellaneous rigs were up one to seven.

The U.S. total count is down from 1,809 a year earlier even as domestic oil output has surged to the highest level in more than two decades, boosted by new technologies that have increased the yield from wells and shortened drilling times. Oil output per rig in North Dakota’s Bakken formation, Texas’s Eagle Ford play and the Marcellus Shale in the eastern U.S. are forecast to rise to records next month, the Energy Information Administration said in a Nov. 12 report.

Producers’ use of “new drilling and completion techniques is maximizing the resource potential of each play,” Mehdi Menouar, oil and gas services analyst for Bloomberg Industries in Skillman, New Jersey, said in a research note yesterday. “Longer horizontal lateral drilling, more frack stages and lower well spacing has helped increase oil and gas production per rig sixfold on average.”

U.S. oil output jumped 1.6 percent to 7.98 million barrels a day in the seven days ended Nov. 8, the highest level since January 1989, according to data compiled by the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. Crude stockpiles climbed 0.7 percent to 388.1 million barrels, the highest level for this season in at least 10 years.

West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery rose 14 cents to $93.90 at 1:06 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 9.9 percent in the past year.

U.S. gas stockpiles rose 20 billion cubic feet last week to 3.834 trillion, the EIA said yesterday. Supplies were 2 percent below year-earlier inventories.

Natural gas for December delivery gained 3.9 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $3.644 per million British thermal units on the Nymex, down 1.6 percent from a year ago.

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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