U.S. energy firms this week added oil and natural gas rigs for a second week in a row, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in its closely followed report on Wednesday.
For the month, the total rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell by three, putting it down for the sixth time in seven months.
In the week to Nov. 22, the oil and gas rig count rose by four to 622.
Despite this week’s rig increase, Baker Hughes said the total count was still 162, or 21%, below this time last year.
U.S. oil rigs remained unchanged at 500 this week, while gas rigs rose by three to 117.
The oil rig count fell by four in November after rising by two in October. That was the 11th time the oil rig count fell in the past 12 months.
The gas rig count held steady in November after rising by one in October and one in September.
U.S. oil futures were down about 5% so far this year after gaining about 7% in 2022. U.S. gas futures, meanwhile, have plunged about 36% so far this year after rising about 20% last year.
With oil and gas prices down, 13 of the independent exploration and production companies tracked by U.S. financial services firm TD Cowen said they planned to cut spending by about 4% in 2024 versus 2023.
TD Cowen said 25 of the E&Ps it tracks said they planned to boost spending by about 20% in 2023 versus 2022 after increasing spending about 40% in 2022 and 4% in 2021.
Much of that extra 2023 spending, however, went to cover rising inflation-related costs for labor and equipment as many firms remain more focused on returning money to investors and paying down debt rather than boosting oil and gas production.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy)