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U.S. Loses Two NatGas Rigs to End 2017 At 929

The United States lost two natural gas-directed rigs for the week ended Friday, but held steady on the oil side of the equation for a total of 929 rigs, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc.'s (BHI) final weekly tally of 2017.

There were 182 gas-directed rigs in the United States, compared with 184 a week earlier and 132 in the same period a year earlier, according to BHI. The number of oil-directed rigs was unchanged from the prior week at 747, a 42% increase compared with 525 in late December 2016.

One vertical unit returned to the patch, as did two directional units, while five horizontal units packed up, according to BHI. One net unit was lost on land, while the Gulf of Mexico finished the week down one rig to 18.

Canada, meanwhile, was battening down for a winter hiatus, dropping 74 rigs week/week to finish at 136 rigs.

The combined North American rig count finished at 1,065 rigs, down 76 week/week and up 250 from 815 rigs running a year ago.

Among plays, BHI reported a three-rig week/week increase in the DJ-Niobrara, which had 26, and a single-rig increase year/year. The Utica Shale added one rig to 28. The Williston was down two rigs week/week to 47, and the Haynesville also lost one.

The Permian held firm at 398 rigs, an increase of 134 compared with the same week in 2016. NGI's more detailed breakdown shows a gain of three rigs in the Midland Basin being offset by the loss of two rigs in the Delaware Basin and one rig in other areas of the Permian.

Among states, Texas (453) and North Dakota (46) each lost two rigs for the week, and Utah was down one to 11. Meanwhile, Ohio (27) and Virginia (1) each added one rig.

Signs continue to point to significant natural gas production growth -- led by the Northeast -- which seems to have weighed on futures prices as the new year approaches. Extreme frigid temperatures sent spot market prices across the middle of the country surging Thursday, including trades as high as $100/MMBtu in the Midcontinent.

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