Shale Drilling Slides to Lowest Level of Activity Since 2022


Number of Rigs Fell by Four to 492

Oil rigs stand in the Permian Basin area of Odessa, Texas. (Sergio Flores/Bloomberg News)

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Drilling in the U.S. shale patch dropped to the lowest level in almost 2½ years as operators vow to make good on promises to investors for subdued production growth this year.

The number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by four to 492, the lowest since January 2022, according to data released June 7 by Baker Hughes Co.

The rig count is down 1.6% so far this year, while oil prices are up 5.6% in the same period.

After fewer rigs delivered better than expected output last year, U.S. shale executives are now slowing activity amid shrinking inventory of top-tier drilling locations, industry consolidation and promises to return profits to shareholders.

Total spending by North American explorers is forecast to drop 1% this year, according to Barclays PLC.

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