The US oil rig count dropped to 1,019 on Friday compared to 1056 last week. Since an October 10 high of 1,609, the US oil rig count has dropped nearly 37 percent.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate Crude oil prices hovered below $51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) on Friday, down from a high of nearly $100 per barrel in June last year.
The number of gas rigs also dropped by 11 to 289 in the past week, a 15.5 percent decrease from the 342 gas rigs the same time last year.
NYMEX natural gas traded at $2.95 per MMBtu [million British Thermal Units]on Friday compared to a $6 peak last February.
Oil companies and service companies have announced layoffs and cuts in exploration and drilling in the wake of sharp oil price declines.
Baker Hughes has tracked rotary rig counts since 1944 as a service to the petroleum industry. “The Baker Hughes Rig Counts are an important business barometer for the drilling industry and its suppliers,” according to the company’s website.