Rising oil prices will still need time to catch up to drilling activity just south of San Antonio.
Tension in the Middle East had the prices of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rising to the $50 per barrel mark on Friday afternoon but figures from the Baker Hughes rig count show that new drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale has fallen to 80 active rigs.
The figures mark the eighth week in a row that the rig count has been below 100. At this same time last year, there were 211 active rigs in the oil-rich region just south of San Antonio.
New drilling also fell down to 235 rigs in the Permian Basin. Across the Lone Star State, new drilling went down from 357 to 353 rigs in one week’s time. Figures show that the overall number of rigs in the United States fell from 809 to 795 rigs.
Friday’s figures mark a six-year low for new drilling activity in Texas and a 13-year low in the United States.
Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) releases rig count data on a weekly basis. Rig count data is considered a barometer of oil drilling activity worldwide.
New oil rig activity provides business for a number of subcontractors out in the field. According to a recent study from the University of Houston, each drilling rig represents a total of 224 jobs both on and off the drilling pad.
Sergio Chapa covers the energy industry for the newspaper.