June 1, 2020
The number of operating U.S. oil and gas rigs as counted by Baker Hughes plunged for the 12th consecutive week to a new low of 301, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday. The lowest number during the 2014-2016 oil bust was 404 in May 2016, and until this collapse was the lowest number ever recorded.
The majority of losses this past week came from the Permian Basin, the center of U.S. oil production, where operators pulled 14 rigs from production. A leading indicator of oil and gas production activity in the U.S., the rig count has plunged more than 50% since mid-March and two-thirds from a year ago.
The losses reflect an oil price bust that began in January, as the spread of the coronavirus across the globe and an oil price war sent crude prices into a slump and the subsequent stay-at-home orders in the spring that sent prices diving.
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