© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks operate at sunset in Midland, Texas U.S. February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo
By Scott DiSavino
(Reuters) – U.S. energy firms this week added oil and rigs for a third week in a row, but growth in the third quarter slowed due to recession fears and nagging supply shortages.
The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose one to 765 in the week to Sept. 30, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said in its closely followed report on Friday. Baker Hughes said that puts the total rig count up 237, or 45%, over this time last year.
U.S. oil rigs rose two to 604 this week, while gas rigs fell one to 159.
For the month, drillers kept the number of rigs unchanged after cutting them in August.
In the third quarter, drillers added rigs for an eighth quarter in a row but the addition of 12 rigs was the smallest increase since September 2020.
Production has been rising but slowly with latest government monthly data showing crude production rose 0.1% to 11.8 million barrels per day in July, its highest since April 2020, while gas output grew by 0.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) to a record 109.6 bcfd in the month.
U.S. energy executives are fearful an economic recession will cut oil and gas demand, complicating the picture for an industry already beset by supply chain issues and rising costs, according to a survey released on Wednesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
The Fed’s company outlook index fell a whopping 33 points during the quarter to 33.1, while its uncertainty index jumped nearly threefold to 35.7, according to the survey, which polled 163 companies across Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana. The activity index declined to 46 from a record 57.7 in the previous quarter.