Oil rigs decline by smallest number in almost four months

4/4/2015

TOM RANDALL and JOSEPH WEISENTHAL

HOUSTON (Bloomberg) -- U.S. oil rigs fell by the smallest number in 16 weeks, a sign that America's oil-drilling crash may be nearing its end.

Drillers idled 11 oil-directed rigs, dropping the number to 802, Baker Hughes reported on Thursday.  The rig count has dropped 50% since October, an unprecedented retreat, as the drop in oil prices has made production less profitable.

But production isn't slowing yet, and new efficiencies in U.S. drilling and pumping may make raw numbers of rigs in the field misleading. The U.S. will pump 9.3 MMbopd this year, the most since 1972, despite the fewest rigs in the field in almost four years, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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