U.S. shale operators boost oil drilling activity to highest levels since September 2023

David Wethe, Bloomberg March 15, 2024

(Bloomberg) – Shale operators are heating up again, boosting oil drilling activity to the highest level in half a year amid rising crude prices.

The number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by six to 510, the biggest mark since Sept. 15, according to data released by Baker Hughes Co. on Friday. After months of relatively low growth, shale operators have now added more than a dozen rigs since mid-February. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, was little changed on Friday.

All eyes are on the U.S. shale patch to see whether operators stick to their targets of low growth or if there will be another surprise pop to production like last year. The activity boost may be just what’s needed to help the global oil market after the International Energy Agency warned earlier this week of a supply deficit throughout the rest of the year. Decisions to reactivate or park rigs are typically made months in advance.

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