U.S. energy firms this week cut the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating for a third week in a row, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co. said in its closely followed report on April 14.

The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell by three to 748 in the week to April 14. 

Despite this week's rig decline, Baker Hughes said the total count was still up 55 rigs, or about 8%, over this time last year.

U.S. oil rigs fell by two to 588 this week, their lowest since June 2022, while gas rigs fell by one to 157.

U.S. oil futures were up about 3% 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, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) this week raised its forecast for crude output growth.

U.S. crude production was on track to rise from 11.9 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) in 2022 to 12.5 MMbbl/d in 2023 and 12.8 MMbbl/d in 2024, according to the EIA. 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 100.87 Bcf/d in 2023 and 101.58 Bcf/d in 2024, according to federal energy data.