U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for 14th week in 15 -Baker Hughes

Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:06pm EST
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Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. energy firms this week cut oil rigs for a 14th week in the last 15, data showed on Friday, a sign drillers were still waiting for higher prices before returning to the well pad.

Drillers removed 21 oil rigs in the week ended Dec. 11, bringing the total rig count down to 524, the least since April 2010, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc said in its closely followed report.

The decline was the sharpest since October.

That decrease brings the total rig count down to about a third of the 1,546 oil rigs operating in same week a year ago. Since the end of the summer, drillers have cut 130 oil rigs.

U.S. crude oil futures averaged $37 a barrel so far this week, down from $41 last week.

On Friday, U.S. crude fell to a fresh six-year low as the international Energy agency (IEA) warned global oversupply could worsen in the new year.

U.S. oil fell as low as $35.35 a barrel on Friday, its lowest level since February 2009.

Energy traders noted the rate of weekly oil rig reductions since the start of September, about nine on average, was much lower than the 18 rigs cut on average since the rig count peaked at 1,609 in October 2014, due in part to expectations of slightly higher prices in the future.

U.S. crude futures for next year were trading around $42 a barrel, down from $44 last week, according to the full year 2016 calendar strip on the New York Mercantile Exchange.   Continued...