Overshadowing gains in natural gas drilling, a third consecutive weekly decline in the oil patch dropped the U.S. rig count four units to 749 for the week ended Friday (March 3), according to the latest tally from Baker Hughes Co. (BKR).


Net changes domestically for the period included an eight-rig decline in oil-directed rigs. In the week-earlier period, U.S. oil rigs declined by seven rigs, with a more modest two-rig decline recorded the week before that.

Countering the losses in the oil patch, three natural gas-directed rigs were added in the United States week/week, alongside one miscellaneous rig. Land drilling declined by two units overall, alongside one-rig declines in the Gulf of Mexico and in inland waters. Horizontal rigs declined by three, with vertical rigs down two....