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U.S. Rig Counts at 698 for Year’s End

by Elizabeth Alford on January 4, 2016

2015 came to a close with U.S. rig counts falling to numbers not seen since 1999.

Related: U.S. Crude Below $40

During the last week of 2015, Baker Hughes reported that the total number of rigs drilling for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dipped below 700 rigs for the first time since 1999. On Thursday, December 31st, a total of 698 oil and gas rigs were running across the United States with 162 targeting natural gas and 536 targeting oil.

This news follows a roller coaster year for the oil and gas industry. Crude prices continued their free-fall from $100 a barrel in 2014 to below $35 earlier this month, a seven-year low that is wreaking havoc on operators and local economies.

Once the reality of the low oil prices finally trickled down, companies used every tactic in the book to try and squeeze out more oil for less this year. They have become more efficient, increasing technologies and reducing costs, including one CEO who slashed his own salary. Eventually they started handing out pink slips and by October, the industry lost an estimated 200,000 jobs according to some estimates. By mid December, one report by Haynes and Boone, LLP said that more than 36 bankruptcies nationwide totaling about $13 billion in debt.


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