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Number of rigs finally started to grow

Staff writer |
The number of rigs in the U.S. actively drilling for oil increased slightly for the first time since August. The rig count increased by two to 574 for the week.

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The number of rigs seeking natural gas dropped by six down to 193 rigs, according to Baker Hughes.

In September, the natural gas rig count dipped below 200 for the first time in decades. The last time the U.S. oil rig count fell below 570 was in June 2010. The oil rig count had declined for 10 straight weeks until Friday.

Oil field operators have pulled back about 65 percent of the rigs that were operating at the peak of the U.S. oil boom in October 2014, when oil rigs totaled 1,609.

In Texas, the total rig count dropped by two from last week down to 338 rigs. Texas accounts for nearly 45 percent of the nation’s oil and gas rigs.

The Eagle Ford shale gained one rig and West Texas’ Permian Basin lost three, although the Permian still has 229 operating rigs. Oklahoma gained two rigs and its count jumped to 85.

The report of the small rig count change came after the price of benchmark U.S. oil dipped throughout the week, ending Friday trading down $1.01 at $40.74 a barrel. The oil price sank below $40 a barrel for a few days in August.

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