16:08 GMT05 December 2020
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    The number of oil rigs in the United States has dropped for 23rd weeks in a row as energy companies continue to slow down their search for oil in the face of low crude oil prices and high US oil inventories, according to weekly data compiled by the United States-based oil service company Baker Hughes.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US oil rig count dropped by 8 rigs to 660 on Friday, compared to an October 10, 2014 high of 1,609 rigs.

    The US oil rig count has plummeted nearly 59 percent since the October highs.

    Friday’s drop comes after a similar decline in the past two weeks, which suggests the decline could be reaching a bottom as oil prices have rallied since late March 2015.

    In January 2015, Baker Hughes said that historically, the rig count has fallen between 40 and 60 percent during past oil bear markets.

    The US oil rig count witnessed rapid growth on the heels of new oil discoveries and a fracking boom that catapulted the United States to be the world’s leading oil producer.

    Low oil prices have stemmed the growth of investment in new oil rigs searching for oil as the industry cut workers.

    Benchmark West Texas Intermediate Crude futures hovered around $59 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) on Friday, up from $48 in late March 2015, but down significantly from highs of nearly $100 per barrel in June 2014.

    US oil inventories are near record highs, but have experienced drawdowns in the past two weeks, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

    Baker Hughes has been tracking rotary rig counts since 1944 as a service to the petroleum industry.

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