U.S. energy firms last week cut the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating for a second week in a row, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co. said in its closely followed report on April 6.

The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell by four to 751 in the week to April 6. 

Baker Hughes released the rig count one day earlier than usual due to the Good Friday holiday on April 7.

Despite last week's rig decline, Baker Hughes said the total count was still up 62 rigs, or 9%, over this time last year.

U.S. oil rigs fell by two to 590 last week, while gas rigs dropped by two to 158.

U.S. oil futures were up about 6.7% so far this year after gaining about 7% in 2022. U.S. gas futures, meanwhile, have plunged about 53% so far this year after rising about 20% last year.

The drop in gas prices has already caused some E&P companies, including Chesapeake Energy Corp., Southwestern Energy Co. and Comstock Resources Inc., to announce plans to reduce production by cutting some gas rigs.

Despite some plans to lower rig counts, U.S. crude production was still on track to rise from 11.9 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) in 2022 to 12.4 MMbbl/d in 2023 and 12.6 MMbbl/d in 2024, according to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in March. That compares with a record 12.3 MMbbl/d in 2019.

U.S. gas production, meanwhile, was on track to rise from a record 98.09 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2022 to 100.67 Bcf/d in 2023 and 101.69 Bcf/d in 2024, according to federal energy data in March.