U.S. energy firms kept the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating unchanged this week with some analysts expecting producers to have shut rigs before Hurricane Laura slammed into the Gulf Coast.
In August, the oil and gas rig count rose by three to 254, the first monthly increase since December, according to data Aug. 28 from energy services firm Baker Hughes Co.
U.S. oil rigs fell three to 180 in the week to Aug. 28, while gas rigs rose three to 72.
Analysts at energy data provider Enverus, which publishes its own rig count, said the weekly rig count started to decline on Aug. 24 when drillers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico started pulling rigs in anticipation of Hurricane Laura, which made landfall Aug. 27.
Even though U.S. oil prices are still down about 30% since the start of the year due to coronavirus demand destruction, U.S. crude futures have gained 128% over the past four months to around $43 per barrel Aug. 28, mostly on hopes global economies and energy demand will snap back as governments lift lockdowns.
Analysts said those higher oil prices have encouraged some energy firms to start adding units.
U.S. financial services firm Cowen & Co. said the 45 independent E&P companies it tracks plan to slash spending by about 47% in 2020 versus 2019. That follows a capex reduction of roughly 9% in 2019 and an increase of around 23% in 2018.
Cowen also said that some E&Ps issued early estimates for 2021 that so far point to an 8% drop in spending next year versus 2020.
Daniel Rice, former CEO of Rice Energy who now sits on the EQT board, addressed the elephant in the room earlier this month at Hart Energy’s Energy Capital Conference.
Former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling has been holding meetings, hoping to win backing for a new energy venture, the Wall Street Journal reported citing unnamed sources.
Today’s featured Forty Under 40 honoree is Hunter Wallace, Atlas Sand’s COO who has led in the design, construction and capitalization of two frack sand plants in the Permian Basin.