In its latest report on drilling permits and completions, the Texas Railroad Commission noted that more than 1,300 oil and gas drilling permits were awarded in March. Despite nearly tripling new well permits compared to the same period last year, however, the report showed a decline in the number of well completions, the final step before production can begin. Natural gas well completions in the state were down 60% from year-ago levels, while oil completions were off 44% from March 2016.
Total U.S. nuclear plant availability slipped this week to 78.5%, well below the levels reported for the same period last year. As the nuclear refuelling season ramps up, the latest downturn in output came as production was lost at the Susquehanna plant in Pennsylvania and the Edwin I. Hatch station in Georgia. Five additional reactors could come offline in the coming week, further depleting nuclear generating capabilities in the near term.
According to the latest data from Baker Hughes, U.S. drillers increased oil rigs for the thirteenth week in a row, with the number of active rigs rising to an almost two-year high. Natural gas rigs were down modestly from the previous week, but are nearly double year-ago levels. The oil-directed rig count currently stands at 683, while the gas-directed count is 162.