North Dakota rig count holds steady

Bakken shale activity unchanged from last week as oil tries for recovery.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Feb. 29, 2016 at 8:02 AM
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BISMARCK, N.D., Feb. 29 (UPI) -- With crude oil trying to stage a recovery, the rig count in North Dakota held steady despite a net decrease in the United States, state data for Monday show.

State data show 38 rigs in active service as of Monday, unchanged from last week. The all-time low point is zero and the current rig count is 15 percent below the last record low of 45 reported in August 2009.

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported 502 rigs were actively exploring for or producing oil and natural gas in the United States for the week ending Feb. 26. That's a decline of 12 from the previous week and 765, or 60 percent lower, than the same week in 2015.

Four other states reported no movement in rig activity. Texas reported the steepest drop by volume, losing five rigs for the week ending Feb. 26.

Crude oil prices are off about 70 percent from their peak levels above $100 per barrel in mid-2014, but have rallied in recent weeks. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of crude oil, is up 4.4 percent from one week ago, though still down about 11 percent from the start of the year.

Continental Resources, one of the larger stakeholders in the Bakken shale oil play in North Dakota and Montana, last week called for patience as it cut its spending for the year by just over 60 percent.

North Dakota reported oil production for December, the last full month for which data was available, was 1.15 million barrels per day, down 2.4 percent from the previous month and 6 percent lower than December 2014, when the state set its record high at 1.23 million bpd.

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