US energy firms has increased oil and natural gas rigs for the second week in a row since mid-September, according to a report from Baker Hughes.
The oil and gas rig count rose two to 624 in the week to Oct. 20. Despite this increase, the total count is still down 147, or 19%, compared to the same period last year.
The number of U.S. oil rigs increased by one to reach a total of 502. Similarly, the number of gas rigs increased by one to reach 118.
Adding three additional gas drillers in the Haynesville shale in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas brings the total number of rigs in the Haynesville shale to 40, representing the first increase in the region since early July and the biggest increase since December 2022.
It is worth mentioning that a year ago, there were 70 rigs operating in the Haynesville shale.
While US oil futures have experienced a 12% increase so far this year, following a 7% gain in 2022, US gas futures, on the other hand, have declined by about 35% this year after a 20% rise last year.
Despite the higher prices for oil, many energy firms are prioritizing returning money to investors and paying down debt rather than increasing oil and gas production.
US oil output from the top shale-producing regions is expected to decline for the third consecutive month in November, reaching its lowest level since May, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) monthly Drilling Productivity Report.
According to U.S. financial services firm TD Cowen, independent exploration and production companies are on track to increase spending by approximately 18% in 2023 compared to 2022. This follows a 40% increase in spending in 2022 and a 4% increase in 2021. However, the projected spending increase for 2023 is slightly lower than the earlier expected rise of 19%.