TEXAS - It's not a winter temperature, it's a rig count.
New figures from Baker Hughes Inc. reveal that the number of rigs drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale has fallen down into the 40s amid the prolonged crude oil price downturn.
Data released on February 26 reveals that the number of active rigs in the vast oil-producing region south of San Antonio fell from 54 to 47 rigs in just one week's time.
The drop marks nine weeks of losses for the Eagle Ford where the number of active rigs was at 157 during the same time period last year and 221 back in late February 2014.
Although the Barnett Shale of Fort Worth gained one rig to close the week out at four active rigs, the Permian Basin of Midland lost one rig and finished at 164 active drilling sites.
New drilling in the U.S. fell down to a 17-year low of 502 rigs with Texas making up just under half of the nation's new drilling activity with 231 rigs deployed in the field.
A look at market conditions reveals that the trend is not expected to change over the next few months. Crude oil prices have been trading in the $30 per barrel range since the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration reveal that commercial crude oil inventories continued to build in early 2016 and are nearing record highs.
New oil rig activity provides business for many subcontractors out in the field. According to a study from the University of Houston, each drilling rig represents a total of 224 jobs on and off the drilling pad.