The U.S. natural gas rig count rose four units to 160 for the week ended Friday (Jan. 27), while an offsetting decline in oil-directed drilling left the combined domestic tally unchanged at 771 for the period, according to updated figures from Baker Hughes Co. (BKR).

Countering the rise in natural gas activity, domestic changes for the period included a decline of four oil-directed rigs. Land drilling increased by three rigs, while three rigs exited in the Gulf of Mexico. Five horizontal rigs were added domestically for the week, offset by declines of four directional rigs and one vertical rig.

The combined 771 active U.S. rigs as of Friday compares with 610 rigs running in the year-earlier period, according to the BKR numbers, which are based partly on data from Enverus.

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The Canadian rig count, meanwhile, rose six units to 247 for the period, up from 217 in the year-ago period. Gains there included four oil-directed rigs and two natural gas-directed units.

Counting by major drilling region, the Permian Basin led with an increase of three rigs week/week, raising its total to 357, versus 293 at this time a year ago. Elsewhere among plays, the Cana Woodford added one rig, while one rig exited the Adrmore Woodford, the BKR data show.

Counting by state, Louisiana posted a net decline of three rigs for the period, while New Mexico added three rigs and North Dakota added two. Pennsylvania added one rig to its total, while West Virginia saw a one-rig decline week/week, according to BKR.

In the latest weekly petroleum data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic crude production matched the pandemic-era peak.

EIA said Wednesday output for the period ended Jan. 20 clocked in at 12.2 million b/d – matching the high mark of the past two years and on par with the two prior weeks of this year. It was up 100,000 b/d from late 2022, data from EIA’s latest Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed. The latest reading also eclipsed the year-earlier level of 11.6 million b/d.

Strong oil production has helped fuel robust levels of associated natural gas output. Total gas production has hovered above 100 Bcf/d this year, close to record levels.