Oil exploration shrank for a 14th straight week in the US fields amid weak crude prices and skepticism about a recovery in energy demand.
Drillers idled 10 oil rigs in onshore US fields this week, bringing the total to 189, according to data released by Baker Hughes Co. Despite this week’s rise in crude prices to a three-month high around $40 a barrel, they still are more than 35% below the January high, Bloomberg reported.
In the Permian Basin, the oil deposit in West Texas and New Mexico that largely drove the past decade’s surge in US crude output, drillers shut off five rigs, bringing the total to 132, the lowest since April 2016.
The rig tally, a widely watched data point that signals future production trends, dropped below 200 last week for the first time in more than a decade. Rather than drilling new wells, some companies such as Continental Resources Inc. plan to restart output that was suspended as crude prices tanked earlier this year.