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US oil, gas rig count climbs 8 to 560 on strong Permian activity

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Platts M2MS-Power

US oil, gas rig count climbs 8 to 560 on strong Permian activity

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Oil-focused rigs up 5 to 430; gas rigs climb 3 to 129

Permian rig count highest since April 2020

Iran nuclear deal could pressure Eagle Ford activity

The US oil and gas rig count climbed eight to 560 in the week ended June 9, rig data provider Enverus said June 10, as the number of oil-focused rigs climbed to fresh 14-month highs.

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The number of rigs primarily chasing oil climbed five to 430, the highest since the week ended April 15, while the number of gas-focused rigs moved up three to 129. The number of rigs classified as chasing both oil and gas was steady at one.

The nationwide increase was led by a continued uptrend in drilling activity in the Permian basin, where the rig count climbed 10 to 253. It was the largest one-week jump in the basin's count since early March and pushed the rig count to the highest since the week ended April 22, 2020.

But rig counts lacked direction across the other major named oil basins.

Operators added two rigs in the Denver-Julesburg play, pushing the total active there to a 12-week high 15.

In the Williston Basin's Bakken play the rig count was steady at 19.

The rig count in the West Texas Eagle Ford basin was lower for a second week, falling one to 37. The basin's rig count is now around 16% below its early-May peak and was last lower during the week ended March 10.

In the SCOOP-STACK, operators idled a single rig, leaving a total of 24 in active service. Despite the pull back the basin's rig count remains near 14-month highs.

Of the major gas-focused plays, rig counts were only higher in the Marcellus shale, where operators added a single rig for a total 35. Notably the additional Marcellus rig was added in the liquids-rich portion of the basin, while the number of rigs in the dry gas portion was unchanged at 24.

In the adjacent Utica basin, the rig count fell one to 10, marking a 15-week low.

The Haynesville rig count fell one to 53 but remained within the range seen since late April.

Iran nuclear deal could pressure demand for Eagle Ford condensate

The potential for added Iranian barrels on the global market should an agreement between the US and Iran be made with regards to nuclear negotiations could cut into demand for US condensate.

While Iran's heavier crude grades stand to compete with heavy sour barrels out of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russian, Oman and Venezuela, among others, Iranian condensate could pressure market share for US' Eagle Ford condensate.

An agreement between the two sides could see Iran return to its pre-sanction production levels. Iran produced 2.43 million b/d of crude in April, according to the latest S&P Global Platts survey of OPEC output, down from its pre-sanctions production of between 3.8 million-3.9 million b/d.

That market share, however, could already be waning as US exports of condensate have fallen off in 2021 compared to 2020 and 2019 levels. Through the first five months of 2021, US condensate exports have averaged just 10,666 b/d, compared to the 2020 average of 69,588 b/d and the 2019 average of 60,657 b/d, according to data from Kpler, a data intelligence company, as buying particularly from the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates has waned.