The number of active oil and gas rigs dipped this week, according to Baker Hughes data, decreasing by 2 rigs, bringing the total rigs to 929 rigs, which is an addition of 271 rigs for the 2017 calendar year. The number of oil rigs in the US stayed the same for the second week in a row, while the number of gas rigs decreased by 2. The number of oil rigs stands at 747 versus 525 a year ago. The number of gas rigs in the US now stands at 182, up from 132 a year ago. At 10:04pm EST, the price of a WTI barrel was down $0.20 (+0.33%) to $60.04—a 2.5-year high, while the Brent barrel was trading up $0.18 (+0.27%) to $66.34, largely on the back of weeks of falling US crude oil inventory, and a surprise decrease in US crude oil production.
US crude oil production has been on a steady upward trajectory for nearly a quarter, which has previous limited price spikes that came on the back of the Forties shutdown and a pipeline bombing in Libya. But US crude oil production for the week ending December 22 came in at 9.754 million barrels per day—a hair off the previous week’s high, and breaking a nine-week production increase in the US. While the 9.754-million-barrel-per-day production level is still the second highest, the fact that production didn’t increase for a tenth week bolstered confidence.