Rig count up 40 percent over last year
The oil and gas industry is well into its recovery and embarking on “a new cycle of expansion,” according to the Texas Petro Index released Wednesday. The rig count is up 40 percent over the first quarter last year. Drilling permits have doubled. Employment has risen by 9,000 from the trough.It will take a while longer for the production numbers to catch up with the increased rig activity.
First quarter highlights include an average rig count above 360, more than 40 percent better than the same quarter last year, a doubling of drilling permits to 3,250, and a more-than-50 percent increase in average crude prices to almost $48.50 a barrel and natural gas to $3 per thousand cubic feet.
The factors together mark the first industry expansion in three years, since crude oil prices began to tank in 2014, falling by more than three-quarters to about $26 last year.