Texas markets

U.S. rig count drops by one as energy markets remain choppy

Photo by Kyra Buckley

Two drilling rigs operate close to each other Thursday, July 7, 2022, near Odessa.

Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle/Team Photographer

The country’s rig count was barely changed from a week ago as the energy market struggles to interpret the continuing effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine, an energy crisis in Europe and the movements of the global OPEC oil cartel.

The number of rigs in operation fell by one nationwide to 759 this week, according to oil services company Baker Hughes. Oil and gas companies in the United States added 256 rigs in the past year, a 50% increase from the 503 in operation at the same time last year.

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Concerns about a looming recession and further COVID shutdowns in China put downward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, Moscow’s war in Ukraine and demand outpacing tight supply, especially in places like Europe, have driven prices up.

Adding to the mix this week, OPEC said on Labor Day that it would cut about 100,000 barrels a day from its flow to the world market starting next month – a small fraction of the 29 million barrels a day. days produced in July. The move has further renewed the confidence of some traders who say OPEC will likely do what it can to keep oil prices around $90 a barrel.

The price of West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark for crude oil, was trading near $90 a barrel when markets opened this week, and gradually moved closer to $80 on Thursday. The price rose on Friday and was trading around $85 a barrel.