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US rig count rises by six

Oil Gas

Data published by oil field services company Baker Hughes has revealed that the number of oil rigs operating in the US increased by six in February.

Despite the recent rise, the overall oil and gas rig counts are down substantially on the same week last year. Oil rigs were down by 97 at 503, while gas rigs dropped by 31 to reach 120.

Nevertheless, even with fewer active oil rigs, US oil production has remained around its record high. In the week ending February 16, oil production averaged 13.3 million barrels per day (bpd). In the same week, well completions were four higher at 264, according to Primary Vision’s Frac Spread Count, which seeks to estimate the completion of unfinished wells.

Getting more production from fewer rigs may seem counterintuitive, but fracking techniques have evolved. ExxonMobil, the maker of the Mobil Pegasus gas engine oil, cited such technologies when its CEO, Darren Woods, spoke at a conference last year:

“My challenge to the organisation was to double recoveries and to find technologies that could unlock that. There is still a lot of oil being left on the ground.”

He said that at the time, just a tenth of the oil was being recovered from shale resources, but drilling longer lateral wells and finding ways to better maintain the fracks could help oil flow more easily. Exxon is planning to produce up to a million bpd of oil in the Permian Basin by 2027 with the help of its in-house fracking technologies.

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