U.S. energy firms this week cut five oil rigs, the biggest weekly drop since November, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in its closely followed report on April 26.

Meanwhile, the oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell by six to 613 in the week to April 26, the lowest since February 2022. 

Baker Hughes said that puts the total rig count down 142 rigs, or 18.8%, below this time last year.

The number of oil rigs fell by five to 506 this week, while gas rigs fell by one to 105, their lowest since December 2021.

The total rig count was down by eight in April, falling for a second month in a row. The oil rig count was unchanged and gas rigs fell by seven in April.

The oil and gas rig count dropped about 20% in 2023 after rising by 33% in 2022 and 67% in 2021, due to a decline in oil and gas prices, higher labor and equipment costs from soaring inflation and as companies focused on paying down debt and boosting shareholder returns instead of raising output.

U.S. oil futures were up about 16% so far in 2024 after dropping by 11% in 2023. U.S. gas futures, meanwhile, were down about 35% so far in 2024 after plunging by 44% in 2023.