Figures released April 21 in the Baker Hughes Rig Count show that oil-rich region just south of San Antonio now has 78 active rigs, an increase of three compared to the previous week.
The Permian Basin of West Texas now has 340 active rigs, while there are 426 throughout the Lone Star State, which has now seen six weeks of growth in a row. On a national level, there are now 857 active rigs across the United States, marking 14 consecutive weeks of growth.
Paradoxically, the higher numbers come at a time of jitters over how France's presidential election April 23 will affect financial markets and doubts that OPEC will continue their production cuts, which prompted oil prices to fall below $49 per barrel on April 21.
Despite the price drop, there are still some positive signs for producers. A report released on April 19 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories fell by 1 million barrels, which is generally good for commodity prices.
Another report shows that oil production in the Eagle Ford continues to climb and currently stands at more than 1.2 million barrels per day.
Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) releases rig count data weekly. The report is considered an important barometer of drilling activity worldwide.
New oil rig activity provides business for many subcontractors in the field. Each drilling rig represents 224 jobs on and off the drilling pad, according to a study from the University of Houston.