The number of drilling rigs at work in Texas rose to a count of 386, according to a February 24th report by Baker Hughes, an oil services firm. Nationally, there were 754 rigs at work, a number that has been steadily increasing for several months. Overall, US crude production rose throughout the month, now about 9,001 million barrels/day – although this remains slightly down from 9,102 million barrels/day from this time last year.
Nationally, the US oil industry is making a “very aggressive” recovery across all major geographic areas, according to researchers at Wood Mackenzie. Exporters shipped a record volume of US crude in the week leading up the February 17, with most of it heading towards emerging markets in East Asia. Experts believe the US is well-positioned to become a net exporter of oil and gas in coming years.
Meanwhile, former Texas Governor Rick Perry was officially confirmed as Secretary of Energy, just a few days after President Trump’s controversial nominee for EPA director, Scott Pruitt, was confirmed by the US Senate. He received 52 out of 100 votes, with support from energy-state Democrats Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin, and opposition from Republican Susan Collins. Pruitt has made a career out of suing the EPA and opposing environmental regulations as Oklahoma Attorney General, leaving many worried that he will reverse or dismantle many federal environmental protections.