The number of US rigs fell for the first time in more than two months, a sign that the oil industry may recover from the pandemic more slowly than expected.
Energy companies operated 310 oil and gas platforms nationwide, down two from last week, according to Houston oil services firm Baker Hughes and energy research firm Enverus. There are 231 oil rigs, down five from last week; 76 natural gas platforms, three more than last week; and three maintenance platforms.
Drilling activity is back in the oilfield after the coronavirus pandemic crushed demand for crude in March and forced oil and gas companies to stop drilling. After crude prices rose above $ 40 a barrel, most oil and gas companies restarted production.
OIL DESCENT: COVID-19 oil bust turns once expensive land in West Texas into a bargain
The rig count, a leading indicator of the country’s oil and gas production, bottomed in August at 244 and had rebounded for the past nine weeks. Recovery should take time; the current number of platforms is far from the 803 platforms in service a year ago. Additionally, analysts say the recovery remains fragile as coronavirus cases continue to climb nationwide.
Texas lost one rig last week and has 144 rigs in service. The state is home to most of the Permian Basin, the country’s most productive shale game, and is home to about half of the country’s oil and gas platforms.
The Permian Basin, which stretches from West Texas to New Mexico, has 156 platforms, up two from last week; the Haynesville in east Texas has 40 rigs, three more than last week; and the Eagle Ford in South Texas has 20 platforms.
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