April 22, 2016 / 5:07 PM / in 2 years

U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for 5th week to Nov 2009 lows -Baker Hughes

April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. energy firms cut oil rigs for a
fifth week in a row to the lowest level since November 2009, oil
services company Baker Hughes Inc said Friday, as energy
firms continue to slash spending despite a bigger than 60
percent spike in futures since hitting a near 13-year low in
    Drillers cut eight oil rigs in the week to April 22,
bringing the total rig count down to 343 Baker Hughes said in
its closely followed report. RIG-OL-USA-BHI
    The number of U.S. oil rigs currently operating compares
with the 703 rigs operating in the same week a year ago. In
2015, drillers cut on average 18 oil rigs per week for a total
of 963 for the year, the biggest annual decline since at least
1988 amid the biggest rout in crude prices in a generation.
    Before this week, drillers cut on average 12 oil rigs per
week for a total of 185 so far this year.
    Energy firms have sharply reduced oil and gas drilling since
the collapse in crude markets began in mid-2014. U.S. crude
futures fell from over $107 a barrel in June 2014 to a
near 13-year low around $26 in February.
    Schlumberger NV said in earnings release on Friday
it will remain cautious in adding capacity even after energy
firms show signs of recovery since it believes the industry will
continue cutting costs through the coming quarter. 
    The world's No. 1 oilfield services provider said its first
quarter revenue decrease was one of the steepest quarterly
declines for the company since this downturn started driven in
part by a drop in activity, persistent pricing pressure, project
delays, job cancellations and activity disruptions.    
    U.S. crude futures this week were heading for a third week
of gains, trading around $43 a barrel, as market sentiment
turned more upbeat despite the persistent oversupply. 
    U.S. crude futures were fetching around $45 a barrel for the
balance of 2016 and about $47 for calendar 2017
    Analysts at Cowen & Co, a U.S. financial services firm,
expect U.S. oil and natural gas land rigs to bottom between 375
and 400 sometime in the second quarter before increasing in the
fourth quarter. The total land rig count was 409 in the week
ended April 15, according to Baker Hughes.

 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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