Oil Rigs Advance to Record 1,473 in Weekly Baker Hughes Count

Oil rigs in the U.S. advanced to the highest level since Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) separated the oil and gas counts in 1987, data on the company’s website showed.

Oil rigs gained 12 to 1,473. The gas count declined by 18 to 326, the Houston-based field services company said. The total count, including miscellaneous rigs, declined by six to 1,803.

A combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling is helping producers reach U.S. shale deposits of oil from North Dakota to Texas, boosting domestic crude output to the highest in a quarter-century and bringing the nation closer to energy independence than it has been in 27 years.

Total U.S. oil output rose 33,000 barrels a day, or 0.4 percent, in the week ended March 14 to 8.22 million, the most since May 1988, data compiled by the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Department’s statistical arm, show. Crude stockpiles climbed 5.85 million barrels, or 1.6 percent, to 375.9 million.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery increased $1.05, or 1.1 percent, to $99.95 a barrel at 1:11 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 8.1 percent in the past year.

U.S. gas stockpiles dropped 48 billion cubic feet last week to 953 billion, EIA data show. Supplies were a record 47.9 percent below the five-year average and 49.4 percent below year-earlier levels.

Natural gas for April delivery slipped 4 cents, or 1 percent, to $4.324 on the Nymex. The price is up 9.9 percent in the past year.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net Richard Stubbe, Charlotte Porter

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