US drill rig count steady; Canada slumps

The number of drill rigs operating in the United States stayed steady for the second time in the past three weeks despite the recent climb in gas prices

US operating rigs were reported at 663 on Friday March 18, flat with the previous week, data from Baker Hughes Inc showed.

Oil rigs were reported at 524, down by three from 527 in the prior week. The gas rig count increased by two week on week and came in at 137. There was also one miscellaneous addition reported by Baker Hughes. Total US rigs remain up 61.31% year on year from 411 in the comparable week of 2021.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of US rigs in operation typically ranged from 700-1,000 rigs each week from January 2019-March 2020. Since hitting a pandemic low of 244 rigs in the week to August 14, 2020, the US rig count has risen by 171.72% and stands at its highest level since reaching 664 rigs in the week to April 3, 2020.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have settled down somewhat, landing at $103.09 per barrel on March 18, down from $109.33 per barrel on March 11. As of mid-morning on Monday March 21, the WTI index for April contract had bounced back up to $109.64 per barrel.

In Canada, the rig count dropped by 30 to land at 176, a 14.56% week-on-week decrease. Still, the total operational rig count represents a 91.30% year-on-year increase from 92 rigs at the same time in 2021.

The number of Canadian oil rigs operating last week totaled 103, down 24 from 127 the prior week. The gas rig count was 73, down by six on the week.

Optimism has continued to build in the US country tubular goods (OCTG) and line pipe markets, and hot-rolled coil prices have continued to rebound to near $70 per hundredweight.

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