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U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Rig Count Down

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. is down, according to Baker Hughes Inc. an oilfield services company. As of the week of September 28, 2015, there were 809 rigs, 614 are exploring for oil and 195 are looking for natural gas. One year ago there were 1,922 rigs and oil prices where about double of current prices.

The rig count in the U.S. peaked at 4,530 rigs in 1981 and bottomed out in 1999 at 488 rigs. The rig count reflects a drop in overall production in the U.S. in the last several months. In June 2015, the U.S. produced approximately 9.5 million barrels of oil and liquid fuels per day. Since then production has dropped to 9 million barrels a day. We expect further drops in oil production as the rig count decreases. In 1970, American oil production peaked at 11 million barrels per day.

Domestic production plummeted in the decades afterward but as consumption increased, the U.S. became more dependent on imported oil. In recent years, new fracking technology has opened up new oil plays in including the Bakken Play in North Dakota. Domestic oil production bottomed out at 3.8 million barrels per day in September 2005. 

Source: Paul Thares, South Dakota State University 

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