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20151217_NGSPThere was no change to the United States running rig count in the latest weekly report conducted by Baker Hughes, leaving the overall number at 709 with just one report remaining in fiscal 2015.

While the number did not change, there was a significant swing in the targets of operations. Seventeen gas-focused rigs were laid down within the week, which were offset by 17 oil-focused rigs being added to the fleet. There are now just 168 gas rigs in the United States, marking the lowest in history dating back to 1987. The total, by comparison, represents about 10% of the fleet from the fall of 2008, when the shale boom first began.

Oil rigs, meanwhile, climbed to 541. The basins maintained fairly level numbers on a week-over-week basis despite the swing in activity. The Haynesville, Marcellus and Mississippian basins each lost only one rig, while the Barnett, Cana Woodford, Denver Julesburg and Eagle Ford gained one apiece. The Permian was the “big” mover, adding two rigs to its field.

On a state perspective, Texas and Pennsylvania reduced rig counts by four apiece while West Virginia increased its count by three.

The overall rig count has now either declined or remained steady for 16 straight weeks, stretching back into August.

More Gas Cuts on the Way?

The rig count update caps a tough week for natural gas, which is trading at a 16 year low. The near-term prospects for a recovery look bleak, as storage levels are currently above five year highs and a weather forecasts are calling for an unseasonably warm winter. The Energy Information Administration reports the last time gas markets were presented with such a situation, the excess product was eventually used by the electric power sector during the summer.

The Transco Zone 6 NY, a key spot price for the northeast, dipped all the way to $0.90/MMBtu last week.



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