BY Staff and Wire reports
Saturday, January 19, 2013
1/19/13 at 3:00 AM
Drilling rig count falls by three to 182
The number of drilling rigs actively exploring for oil or natural gas in Oklahoma fell by three this week to 182, Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.
The tally is down by 15 from a year ago, when it was 197.
Nationwide, the net number of active drilling units fell for the eighth straight week, dropping by 12 to 1,749, according to Houston-based Baker Hughes' website.
A year ago, the U.S. rig count was 2,008.
Some oil-field operators say more efficient drilling technologies are weakening demand for new equipment.
"A number of operators ... are replacing rigs with more efficient pad-capable drilling rigs," said John Kelso, a spokesman for Denver-based Whiting Petroleum Corp., the third-largest leaseholder in the Bakken play of North Dakota and Montana.
"An operator can drill just as many wells with fewer rigs," he said.
Of the rigs operating across the country this week, 1,316, or 75 percent of the total, were drilling for oil, while 429 were exploring for gas. Four rigs were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 61 percent of active rigs were exploring for oil, according to Baker Hughes data.
Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, benchmark oil for February delivery rose 7 cents to finish at $95.56 per barrel, the highest price since Sept. 17.
Natural gas rose 7 cents to end the week at $3.57 per 1,000 cubic feet.
China growth rebounds, but recovery shaky
China's economy is finally rebounding from its deepest slump since the 2008 global crisis, but the shaky recovery could be vulnerable to a new downturn in global trade.
Growth rose to 7.9 percent in the three months ending in December, up from the previous quarter's 7.4 percent data showed Friday. For the year, the economy grew by 7.8 percent, which was China's weakest annual performance since the 1990s.
Retail spending and factory output rose, but analysts say China could suffer a setback if exports weaken or the government fails to maintain investment spending that is propping up a recovery.
The slowdown was due largely to government controls imposed to cool a real estate boom and surging inflation fueled by Beijing's massive stimulus in response to the 2008 crisis. But it worsened as demand for Chinese exports dropped unexpectedly, raising the risk of job losses.