The U.S. natural gas rig count climbed two units to 93 for the week ended Friday (April 9) as an uptick in land drilling offset a pullback in the Gulf of Mexico, according to data published by Baker Hughes Co. (BKR).

April 9 US rig count

U.S. oil-directed rigs remained unchanged overall at 337. The total U.S. rig count ended the week at 432, down from 602 rigs active in the year-ago period, according to the BKR numbers, which are based partly on data provided by Enverus.

Land drilling increased by five rigs week/week, while the Gulf of Mexico posted a net decline of three rigs. Horizontal rigs increased by three overall, while directional rigs saw a net decline of one unit week/week.

The Canadian rig count dropped 11 units to fall to 58 for the week, up from 35 in the year-ago period. Declines included five oil-directed rigs and six natural gas-directed.

Among plays, there were no major net changes week/week in the updated BKR numbers. Reflecting the uptick in gas-directed drilling in the United States, the Haynesville and Utica shales each added a rig to their respective totals during the period.

Broken down by state, Utah added two rigs for the week, while Ohio and Oklahoma each added one. Louisiana and Wyoming each saw a net decline of one rig for the period.

Oilfield services provider Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. earlier in the week reported an average of 70 drilling rigs in operation for March 2021. For the first three months of the year, the company had an average of 69 drilling rigs in operation.

Meanwhile, the global supply/demand balance should support crude prices near their current levels through 2021, though fluctuations are all but certain, Moody’s Investors Service said in a recent report.

The Moody’s analysts said average West Texas Intermediate crude prices this year should be in the middle of their forecast range of $45-65/bbl.

“We expect that the recovery in oil production will lag increases in demand and will accelerate a rebalancing of the physical markets,” the analysts said. Prices, however, “will remain highly volatile, with periods outside the top or bottom ends of the range.”