CORRECTED-U.S. oil drillers pull 7 rigs, biggest drop since late May - Baker Hughes

Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:59pm EDT
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(Corrects fourth paragraph to show drillers added one rig in Granite Wash, deletes reference to four basins)

By Scott DiSavino

June 12 (Reuters) - The market has been waiting for the slowdown in the rig count to stop as crude prices have rebounded over the past few months, but this week's slowdown showed oil drillers were not yet done cutting the number of rigs.

Energy firms pulled another seven rigs from U.S. oil fields this week, the most since late May, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday in its closely followed report.

That was the 27th straight weekly decline, bringing the total rig count down to 635, the lowest since August 2010.

Drillers this week added a rig in just one basin, the Granite Wash located in the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma.

With Saudi Arabia and Iraq pumping oil at record or near record levels, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries last week kept its output target at 30 million barrels per day as it tries to keep crude prices low to support global oil demand growth while retaining market share by driving out more expensive producers, like U.S. shale drillers.

That OPEC policy has worked, as world oil demand is picking up and supply has slowed.

U.S. drillers have eliminated thousands of jobs and idled more than half of the country's active rigs since they peaked at 1,609 in October as U.S. crude futures collapsed 60 percent from over $107 a barrel last June to a six-year low near $42 in March on oversupply concerns.   Continued...