RIYADH: US energy firms last week reduced the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating for a second week in a row, including the deepest oil rig cut since early June, energy services firm Baker Hughes said.
The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell by six to 669 in the week ended July 21, the lowest since March 2022.
That was also the 11th time in the last 12 weeks that drillers cut rigs.
US oil rigs fell by seven to 530 this week, their lowest since March 2022, while gas rigs dropped by two to 131.
Baker Hughes said drillers cut four rigs in the Permian in West Texas and eastern New Mexico, the nation’s biggest shale oil formation, bringing the total down to 333 rigs. They also cut two rigs in the Eagle Ford, bringing the total in that South Texas shale basin down to 57 rigs — the lowest in both basins since April 2022.
UAE says current OPEC+ actions sufficient for now
Current actions by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, to support the oil market are sufficient for now, UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said on Friday, and the group is “only a phone call away” if any further steps are needed.
OPEC+, which pumps around 40 percent of the world’s crude, has been limiting supply since late 2022 to bolster the market.
“What we are doing is sufficient as we say today,” the UAE minister told Reuters in Goa, India, during the G20 energy ministerial meetings.
“But we are constantly meeting, and if there is a requirement to do anything else, then we will pick it up during those meetings. We are always a phone call away from each other.”
At its last policy meeting in June, OPEC+ agreed on a broad deal to limit supply into 2024. Saudi Arabia pledged a voluntary production cut for July, which has since been extended to August.
Venezuela expects to sign gas licenses by year-end: minister
Venezuela hopes to sign licenses by year-end for developing the nation’s vast natural gas reserves, the country’s oil minister, Pedro Tellechea, said.
Most of the South American country’s gas reserves remain undeveloped after decades of insufficient investment, contract changes and — in recent years — US sanctions to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
But new officials running the Oil Ministry and state oil company PDVSA want to encourage new investment and unfreeze projects.
Tellechea said talks between PDVSA and companies, including Italy’s Eni, Spain’s Repsol and France’s Maurel & Prom, had progressed. However, there was still a need to agree to some terms to get licenses ultimately issued.
“We must turn into a gas exporter,” he said during a conference in Caracas. “We are making the first steps.”
Deals for exporting gas from the country would need to receive the green light from the US in compliance with the sanctions framework.
Following a US license in January, Trinidad and Tobago has held several discussions with Venezuela about the joint development of a promising offshore gas field near the maritime border between the two countries.
Oil major Shell, which produces in Trinidad, could operate the Dragon gas field in Venezuela if Maduro’s government extends it a license, Trinidad officials have said.
Venezuela’s crude production has been 831,000 barrels per day this month and expects to increase to 1 million bpd by year-end. The country aims to reach 1.76 million bpd of output in 2024, Tellechea said.
(With input from Reuters)