Oil drillers scale back U.S. activity as crude falls into bear market

Image: ConocoPhillips

U.S. crude producers reduced drilling to a 15-month low as oil dipped into bear-market territory.

Working American oil rigs fell by 11 this week to 789, according to data released Friday by oilfield-services provider Baker Hughes. More than half the decline happened in the Permian Basin, the biggest source of American crude.

Crude futures traded in New York fell into a bear market on June 5 as they dropped to levels not seen since mid January. The slump comes as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied suppliers prepare to discuss output controls in a matter of weeks.

“There has also been a significant change in market sentiment, in both equity and financial markets,” OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said in remarks delivered via video link at a New York conference hosted by RBC Capital Markets.

Aside from the Permian region in West Texas and New Mexico, drillers idled rigs in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas, the Bakken region of North Dakota and the Cana Woodford area in Oklahoma.

U.S. crude production rose by 100,000 barrels a day last week to a fresh record of 12.4 million, according to the Energy Information Administration.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.