April 13, 2018 / 5:06 PM / 8 months ago

U.S. drillers add oil rigs for second consecutive week -Baker Hughes

    April 13 (Reuters) - U.S. energy companies added oil rigs
for a second week in a row as energy firms follow through on
plans to spend more on drilling this year with crude prices at
three-year highs.
    Drillers added seven oil rigs in the week to April 13,
bringing the total count to 815, the highest level since March
2015, General Electric Co's        Baker Hughes energy services
firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.
RIG-OL-USA-BHI
    The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is
much higher than a year ago when 683 rigs were active. Energy
companies have been steadily increasing spending since mid-2016
when crude prices began recovering from a two-year crash.
    U.S. crude futures        traded around $67 a barrel this
week, their highest since December 2014. That is up sharply from
the $50.85 average hit in 2017 and $43.47 in 2016.
    Looking ahead, futures were trading around $66 for the
balance of 2018           and $61 for calendar 2019          .
    In anticipation of higher prices, U.S. financial services
firm Cowen & Co said 58 of the roughly 65 exploration and
production (E&P) companies they track have already provided
guidance indicating an 11 percent increase this year in planned
capital spending.
    Cowen said those E&Ps that have reported capital plans for
2018 expected to spend a total of $80.5 billion in 2018, up from
an estimated $72.4 billion in 2017.
    Analysts at Simmons & Co, energy specialists at U.S.
investment bank Piper Jaffray, this week forecast the total oil
and natural gas rig count would average 1,013 in 2018 and 1,129
in 2019, the same as last week.
    So far this year, the total number of oil and natural gas
rigs active in the United States has averaged 972, up sharply
from an average of 876 rigs in 2017 and 509 in 2016, and not far
from the total of 978 in 2015. Most rigs produce both oil and
gas.
    EIA this month projected average annual U.S. production will
rise to a record high 10.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018
and 11.4 million bpd in 2019, up from 9.3 million bpd in 2017.
       
    The current all-time U.S. annual output peak was in 1970 at
9.6 million bpd, according to federal energy data.

    
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino
Editing by Susan Thomas)
  
 
 
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