Industry at a glance

Benchmark crude prices slipped back to average about $45/bbl in August, as Russia and Saudi Arabia continued to produce at record-high levels. However, world oil stockpiles are finally dissipating, with the discount narrowing on immediate supplies of Brent crude, a clear indication that surplus is fading. With world oil supply and demand essentially equal, and U.S. production falling, the balanced market will help stabilize commodity prices. However, while the oversupply is ending, accumulated crude inventories continue to back a rally in prices. In spite of price volatility, U.S. rig activity rose 7% in August to average 481 units compared to July, but the count remained 46% below the year-ago average. The international rotary count increased to average 1,043 in July with a significant portion of the gain attributed to increased land-based activity in Canada.

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