18:05 GMT29 November 2020
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    According to weekly data compiled by the US-based oil service company Baker Hughes, the number of oil rigs in the United States dropped by 33 in the past week as energy companies have slowed down their search for oil.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The number of oil rigs in the United States dropped by 33 in the past week as energy companies have slowed down their search for oil in the face of crude oil prices 50 percent below summer highs, according to weekly data compiled by the US-based oil service company Baker Hughes.

    The US oil rig count dropped to 986 on Friday compared to 1,019 last week. Since an October 10 high of 1,609, the US oil rig count has dropped nearly 39 percent.

    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 number one oil producer. With Friday’s numbers, the US oil rig count is now at the June 2011 levels.

    Benchmark West Texas Intermediate Crude oil prices hovered below $49 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 9 to 280 in the past week, a 16.5 percent decrease from the 335 gas rigs the same time last year.

    NYMEX natural gas traded at $2.73 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.

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