Saturday, January 23, 2010

Natural Gas Rig Count 1828

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--The number of rigs drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. rose this week as producers ramped up drilling activity in response to higher prices.

The number of oil and gas rigs climbed to 1,282, up 34 from the previous week, according to data from oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI). The number of gas rigs was 833, an increase of 22 rigs from last week, while the oil rig count was 437, an increase of 12 rigs. The number of miscellaneous rigs was unchanged at 12 rigs.

The number of gas rigs in use peaked at 1,606 in September 2008. Producers cut natural-gas drilling sharply last year in response to falling prices, but the rig count has begun to recover in recent weeks as producers bet on colder winter weather and an economic recovery that would spark demand for the fuel.

Cold weather in the major gas-consuming regions in recent weeks has supported prices and put a substantial dent in inventories. Total gas in U.S. storage for the week ended Jan. 15 was 2.607 trillion cubic feet, in line with the five-year average and just above last year's level.

Natural gas for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was recently up 21.1 cents, or 3.76%, at $5.826 a million British thermal units.

-By Christine Buurma, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2143;

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