For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – March 20, 2012 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI), Transocean Inc. (RIG), Encana Corp. (ECA), Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) and ConocoPhillips (COP).
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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:
Nat Gas Rig Count at 10-Year Low
In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) reported a rise in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and gas in the country). This can be attributed to an increase in the tally of oil-directed rigs, partially offset by cutbacks in natural gas and miscellaneous rig counts.
The Baker Hughes rig count, issued since 1944, acts as an important yardstick for drilling contractors such as Transocean Inc. (RIG) in gauging the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.
Analysis of the Data
Weekly Summary: Rigs engaged in exploration and production in the U.S. totaled 1,984 for the week ended March 16, 2012. This was up by 11 from the previous week’s count and represents the third decrease in 5 weeks.
The current nationwide rig count is more than double that of the 6-year low of 876 (in the week ended June 12, 2009) and significantly exceeds the prior-year level of 1,720. It rose to a 22-year high in 2008, peaking at 2,031 in the weeks ending August 29 and September 12.
Rigs engaged in land operations climbed by 6 to 1,920, inland waters activity increased by 3 to 21, while offshore drilling was up by 2 to 43 rigs.
Natural Gas Rig Count: The natural gas rig count decreased for the tenth week in a row to 663 (a drop of 7 rigs from the previous week). As per the most recent report, the number of gas-directed rigs is at their lowest level since May 3, 2002 and is down more than 29% from its 2011 peak of 936, reached during mid-October.
The current natural gas rig count remains 59% below its all-time high of 1,606 reached in late summer 2008. In the year-ago period, there were 875 active natural gas rigs.
Oil Rig Count: The oil rig count was up by 21 to 1,317.