In a positive sign that the oil industry may be rebounding, the number of rigs in the U.S. increased last week, according to a new report.
Baker Hughes, a Houston-based outfield services company, is reporting that 10 rigs were added in the U.S. last week to a total of 884. Last October, the rig count dropped off reaching a low at the end of June with 628 rigs.
Though the recent additions are good news for those in the industry, the numbers are still behind prior highs. The new result, while well above the all-time low 488 in 1999, is less than half of last year's numbers, which totaled 1,908 in the same week.
Land operation rigs accounted for the largest increase, up by five from the previous rigs. Rigs in inland water areas added an additional unit while offshore drilling increased by four.
Most of the rigs that were added are for crude oil operations, which grew by six to 670. Natural gas rigs accounted for the remaining four new units, going to 213. Both categories are still below their numbers from last year, which were 1,588 and 316, respectively.
In types of units, most of the new rigs, seven, were horizontal/directional rigs, such as those used to extract gas from shale formations, which rose to 755. The other three were for traditional vertical drilling rigs, of which there are only 129.
Texas had a big week, adding six of the new rigs, with five residing in the Permian Basin and one in Eagle Ford. Of the remaining four additional rigs, three were in the Gulf of Mexico and the last in North Dakota.