Crude Oil Rig Counts
The U.S. oil drilling rig count is now at 527, up from 480 at the end of 2021. The count is still well below the 800 level reached in 2018, let alone the 1,000+ counts of the 2011-2014 heyday. This is in spite of WTI prices spiking north of $100 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Producers may be reluctant to bring on rigs even faster until these high crude prices appear sustainable. Also, the chart shows nearby crude prices but producers might hedge further out on the curve. For instance, while April WTI was at $102.11 today, December crude was at $86.78. Most E&P companies have been focused on cash flow rather than the extreme growth of the past.
With these elevated prices, we'll likely see continued increases in the rig count. This could be critical in the near term as the world looks to replace Russian oil.