The number of rigs searching for natural gas in the Barnett Shale remained in the single digits this week, with six derricks drilling wells in North Texas.
Tarrant County led the way with two rigs, and Clay, Denton, Jack and Wise counties reported one each, according to RigData, a Fort Worth company that monitors oil and gas field activity.
The rig count has fluctuated since the week of March 13, when only one was operating in the Barnett Shale. The next week, the number jumped to four, then quickly dropped to two before climbing back to six this week.
Analysts blame the decline in Barnett rigs on plummeting oil and gas prices, along with more lucrative shale gas plays elsewhere in Texas and the U.S. In 2008, nearly 200 rigs were active in the 5,000-square-mile natural gas play.
The national rig count took a hit this week, with 20 fewer rigs exploring for oil and natural gas, according to Baker Hughes, a Houston oil field services company.
Baker Hughes said Thursday that 802 rigs were seeking oil, 222 were exploring for natural gas, and four were listed as miscellaneous — a total of 1,028. A year ago, 1,818 rigs were active.
Texas and North Dakota each lost six rigs, while Louisiana was off five and Oklahoma four. Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania lost one each.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
This report includes material from The Associated Press.
This article was written by Max B. Baker from Fort Worth Star-Telegram and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.