Baker Hughes: US Oil, Gas Rig Count Down 15 to 1,178 This Week

NEW YORK (Dow Jones), Dec. 24, 2009

The number of rigs drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. dropped this week as abundant supplies of natural gas led to reduced drilling activities.

The number of oil and gas rigs fell to 1,178, down 15 rigs from the previous week, according to data from oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc. The number of gas rigs was 751, a decrease of 22 rigs from last week, while the oil rig count was 416, an increase of 7 rigs. The number of miscellaneous rigs was unchanged at 11 rigs.

The number of gas rigs in use peaked at 1,606 in September 2008. Producers have curbed natural-gas drilling sharply over the past several months in response to falling prices, but prices have recently posted gains as cold winter weather drives increased heating demand. Gas for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was recently trading 10 cents, or 1.75%, higher at $5.815/MMBtu.

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