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The total U.S. rig count remained flat at 975 following last week's jump of 29, according to the latest weekly survey from Baker Hughes. The number of active oil rigs rose by 7 to 798 after last week's increase of 26, while gas rigs gave up 7 to 177.

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. oil producer Occidental Petroleum Corp. said its production from one of the premiere shale basins in the country improved, but pre-tax income faltered. At the end of 2017, the company had proven global reserves of 2.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent, of which 58 percent was oil. Of its total reserves, 60 percent is in the United States. In the Permian basin, which extends over parts of Texas and into New Mexico, production improved from the third quarter by close to 15 percent due to increased drilling and productivity. "All of our segments generated significant free cash flow, and we achieved record-breaking well results in our Permian resources business," President and Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub said in a statement. Pre-tax income for oil and gas for the fourth quarter was $44 million, compared with ...

U.S. energy companies added 26 oil rigs this week, boosting the count to 791, its highest since April 2015, even as crude pulled back from three-year highs with drillers expecting higher prices for their output in 2018 than last year. The increase in the week to Feb. 9 was the biggest weekly rise since January 2017, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. More than half of those oil rigs were located in the Permian basin in west Texas and eastern New Mexico where the number of active units increased by 10 this week to 437, the most since January 2015. Those rigs were expected to help boost oil output in the Permian to a record high near 2.9 million barrels per day in February, according to federal projections, representing about ...

The U.S. government sees nationwide oil production jumping above 11 million barrels a day much quicker than anticipated. After oil output already topped 10 million barrels a day back in November, output will climb above the 11 million mark this November, the Energy Information Administration said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook on Tuesday. It previously forecast production above that level in November 2019.

The nation's rig count remained relatively stable last week, following a strong week in West Texas' Permian Basin, which had added a whopping 18 drilling rigs at the end of January. The overall rig count for the U.S. fell by one, bringing the number of active rigs down to 946, according to weekly data collected by the Houston energy services company Baker Hughes energy services firm. Six oil rigs were added and gas rigs were down by seven. Colorado's DJ Basin added one rig, and two rigs were added in the Haynesville shale, which spans parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and East Texas. The Permian Basin, with 427 rigs, accounts for nearly half of all active rigs in the U.S. Oil prices have continued to surge since late 2017 with the U.S. benchmark now hovering above $65 a barrel. Oil prices ...

The US energy sector saw 224 mergers and acquisitions in 2017, a 13% increase from 2016, but their combined value was down 10% year-on-year to $182 billion as companies struck only seven mega-deals worth $5 billion or more, according to reports from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Wood Mackenzie. "Many investors seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach to the rapidly changing market dynamics," said PwC's Joe Dunleavy.

The number of oil rigs climbed by 12 to 759 last week, the biggest gain since March, according to Baker Hughes. The increase was led by the Permian Basin, which added 18 rigs to reach a total of 427 units -- the biggest weekly jump since November 2013.

North American drillers are stepping up efforts to improve cash flows and boost shareholder returns this year, and Williams Capital Group analyst Gabriele Sorbara predicts moderate production growth in the first half of 2018. Additionally, in their pursuit of greater efficiency, producers will likely turn to testing and completion practices "that work in a $50[/b] to $55 oil world," Sorbara said.

In their pursuit of more efficient drilling operations, US shale players are building superpads that can hold as many as 40 wells, up from three to four wells per pad a few years ago. Jeff Ventura, president and CEO of Range Resources, said the multi-well pads allow his company to save on road and infrastructure construction and respond to market trends quicker. Dave Elkin remembers in the earlier days of the Marcellus when EQT drilled three wells from a single well pad and it was considered a technological marvel. “The greatest thing since sliced bread,” Mr. Elkin, a senior vice president of asset optimization at EQT Corp., thought at the time. It was a quaint memory that contrasts sharply with the company’s and industry’s new normal: superpads — concrete platforms that can house 30 wells, maybe even 40, with long ...