U.S. Energy Rigs Rise to 1,818, Baker Hughes Says

Rigs targeting oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by nine to 1,818, according to Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI)

Oil rigs gained 11 to 1,498, data posted on the company’s website show, the highest level since Baker Hughes separated the oil and gas counts in 1987. The gas count declined by two to 316, the Houston-based field services company said. Miscellaneous rigs were unchanged at four.

Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are helping producers extract record volumes from shale formations across the U.S., boosting domestic crude output to the highest in a quarter-century. The nation met 87 percent of its energy needs in 2013, the highest since 1985, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Total U.S. oil output rose 2,000 barrels a day in the week ended March 28 to 8.19 million, after reaching the highest level since 1988 on March 14, according to data compiled by the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Department’s statistical arm. Crude stockpiles fell 2.38 million barrels to 380.1 million.

Tight-oil production averaged 3.22 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter, enough to lift total U.S. output to 7.84 million barrels a day, accounting for more than 10 percent of world production, the EIA said.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery rose to $101.37 a barrel at 12:48 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 8.7 percent in the past year.

U.S. gas stockpiles dropped 74 billion cubic feet last week to 822 billion, the lowest since 2003, EIA data show. Supplies were 55 percent below the five-year average.

Natural gas for May delivery fell 2.3 cents to $4.447 per million British thermal units on the Nymex and has risen 13 percent in the past year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Murtaugh in Houston at dmurtaugh@bloomberg.net

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

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