U.S. shale drilling rig-usage decreases by most in five months following record 2023 oil production

David Wethe, Bloomberg April 28, 2024

(Bloomberg) – The U.S. shale oil sector experienced the biggest decrease in drilling activity in more than five months as operators keep a tight hold on spending.

The number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by five to 506, marking the biggest slide since Nov. 3, according to data released by Baker Hughes Co. on Friday. This week’s move reverses last week’s five-rig increase.

After better-than-expected production from fewer rigs in 2023, U.S. shale executives now are in the midst of slowing down amid a shrinking inventory of top-tier drilling locations, weak natural gas prices, and industry consolidation. Total spending by North American oil and gas operators is forecast to drop 1% this year, according to Barclays PLC.

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