UPDATE 1-U.S. natgas rig count rises, 3rd gain in 4 weeks -Baker Hughes

Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:52pm EDT

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* Gas rig count climbs for a second week, gaining four
    * Horizontal rigs fall for second straight week
    * Oil rig count off 4 to 1,357, 3rd straight decline

    NEW YORK, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for
natural gas in the United States rose this week for the third
time in four weeks, increasing by four to 376, data from
Houston-based Baker Hughes showed on Friday.
    The gas-directed rig count, which reached a six-month high
of 401 six weeks ago, has increased in 11 of the last 18 weeks
and is above the 18-year low of 349, set in late June.
    A rising gas rig count can stir talk that new pipelines and
processing plants, particularly in the East, may be encouraging
producers to hook up more wells and pump more supply into an
already well-supplied market.
    Gas futures prices on Friday, which were up nearly 5 cents
at $3.677 per million British thermal units before rig data was
released just after 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT), were still trading at
about that level at 1:30 p.m.
    
    
    
    The oil-focused rig count fell for the fourth time in five 
weeks, dropping four to 1,357. The oil rig count hit a
nine-month high of 1,413 in mid-June, Baker Hughes data showed.
The oil count is down 51 rigs, or 3.6 percent, from the same
week last year.
    Baker Hughes reported horizontal rigs, the type often used
to extract oil or gas from shale, dropped for the second 
straight week, shedding one to 1,098.
    The horizontal count is down 8 percent from the record high
of 1,193 in May 2012.
    While the gas rig count is off 60 percent since peaking in
October 2011 at 936, gas production has not slowed much, if at
all, from a record high last year. The associated gas produced
from more profitable shale oil and shale gas liquids wells has
kept dry gas flowing at or near a record pace.
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently raised
its estimate for domestic gas production in 2013, expecting
average output this year to reach a record high for the third
straight year.
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