Baker Hughes (BHI) will release its weekly U.S. natural gas rig count report on March 31, 2017.
A year ago, 450 rigs were active in the U.S. The count bottomed out last May at 404.
There was little reaction to Baker Hughes data showing the US oil rig count continued to rise last week.
The number of oil rigs increased to 662 from 652 previously while the number of gas rigs increased to 160 from 155. The offshore count, now at 22, is down four rigs year-over-year. The 137 rigs added in the first quarter is the biggest boost in a quarter since the drillers activated a record 152 rigs in the second quarter in 2011, according to Baker Hughes data going back to 1987.
Increases in the number of rigs will continue to put upward pressure on U.S. oil production during the second quarter. Higher natural gas (UNG) (GASL) (FCG) prices will have a positive impact on drilling activity in 2017.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures were headed for a 5% weekly gain, the most since November 27.