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U.S. rig count drops 18 percent

Colorado and Texas hit hardest by drop in crude oil prices at the start of the year.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Only Alaska saw an increase in rig activity as the United States rig count slump continued through the first few weeks of 2016, data from Baker Hughes show. File photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI
Only Alaska saw an increase in rig activity as the United States rig count slump continued through the first few weeks of 2016, data from Baker Hughes show. File photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

HOUSTON, March 7 (UPI) -- From January to February, the number of rigs working on exploration and production activities in the United States dropped 18 percent, Baker Hughes reported.

The oil field services company issued its February report on average rig count activity Monday. The report found 532 rigs actively exploring for or producing oil and natural gas in the United States in February, down from the 654 in service the previous month.

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Most energy companies have cut back spending in exploration and production for the year as a result of the downturn in crude oil prices. The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, dropped 10.5 percent from the first trading day of 2016 to Feb. 1.

In a weekly snapshot published last week, Baker Hughes found Colorado lost the most rigs in terms of percent, while Texas lost the most in terms of net volume. On an oil and natural gas basis, oil lost the most in terms of volume and percent, posting nearly a 40 percent drop in the United States for the week ending March 4.

Alaska was the only state with a robust oil and gas sector to record an increase in rig activity.

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Internationally, Baker Hughes reported a 7 percent decline in rig activity from January to February. Canada moved against the tide by recording an increase of nearly 10 percent from January.

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