Natural gas-directed drilling rigs gave up some of their recent gains in the latest Baker Hughes Inc. rig count released on Friday (May 1).

The U.S. gas-directed count fell by three (after having gained eight in the previous weekly count), and the oil-directed count fell by 24.

At least one natural gas market watcher had his eye on the latest rig count data. Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates on Thursday said, “…another increase in the gas rig count [to be reported Friday], regardless of magnitude, could trigger a significant amount of selling that could eventually open the door to another round of fresh lows across the month of May” (see Daily GPI, May 1).

Bulls got their natural gas-directed rig retreat, though, as the Barnett gave up two rigs; the Fayetteville lost one; and the Haynesville gave up two. The Marcellus lost two rigs, and the Utica held steady with the previous week.