U.S. energy firms this week cut the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating for the first time in three weeks, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in its closely followed report on March 8.

The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell by seven to 622 in the week to March 8, the lowest since Feb. 16. 

Baker Hughes said that puts the total rig count down 124 rigs, or 16.6%, below this time last year.