UPDATE 1-U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for 4th week on weak crude-Baker Hughes

Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:28pm EDT
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(Adds natgas and basin details in paragraphs 4 and 7)

By Scott DiSavino

Sept 25 (Reuters) - U.S. energy firms cut oil rigs for a fourth week in a row this week, data showed on Friday, a sign the continued weak prices were causing energy firms to reduce drilling plans.

Drillers removed four oil rigs in the week ended Sept. 25, bringing the total rig count down to 640, the lowest since July, after cutting a total of 31 rigs over the three prior weeks, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc said in its closely followed report.

That compared with 1,592 oil rigs in the same week a year ago and an all-time high of 1,609 in October 2014.

Combined with the reduction in natural gas rigs, total U.S. rigs were at a 12-year low. Natural gas rigs were down one this week to 197, up just one from its lowest level since at least 1987, according to the Baker Hughes data.

The reductions over the past few weeks have cut into the 47 oil rigs that energy firms added in July and August after some drillers followed through on plans to add rigs announced in May and June when U.S. crude futures averaged $60 a barrel.

U.S. oil futures this week however were averaging $45 a barrel for a third week in a row, near the lowest levels for the year on continued lackluster global demand and lingering oversupply concerns.

In the country's major shale basins, drillers this week cut three oil rigs in both the Permian in West Texas and eastern New Mexico and the Eagle Ford in South Texas and one in the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana. The Niobrara in Colorado and Wyoming remained unchanged.   Continued...