August 25, 2017 / 5:06 PM / a year ago

U.S. drillers cut oil rigs ahead of Hurricane Harvey - Baker Hughes

    By Jessica Resnick-Ault
    Aug 25 (Reuters) - U.S. energy firms cut oil rigs for a
second week in a row ahead of Hurricane Harvey and as a more
than year-long recovery in drilling slows down in reaction to
soft crude prices.
    Drillers cut four oil rigs in the week to Aug. 25, bringing
the total count down to 759, General Electric Co's        Baker
Hughes energy services firm said in its report on Friday.
    That compares with 406 active oil rigs during the same week
a year ago. Drillers have added rigs in 56 of the past 65 weeks
since the start of June 2016.
    The rig count is an early indicator of future output.
    Refineries, terminals, production platforms and other
infrastructure have begun shutdown procedures with Hurricane
Harvey set to make landfall on the central Texas coast on Friday
night or early on Saturday as a Category 3 hurricane,
potentially the biggest storm to hit the mainland United States
in 12 years.            
    Harvey could also bring flooding to inland shale oil fields
in southern Texas that produce more than 1 million barrels of
oil per day.
    EOG Resources Inc         on Thursday said it has curtailed
drilling and shut in some production in the Eagle Ford shale
region. Noble Energy Inc         and Statoil ASA          also
said it was evacuating some staff from production facilities in
the region.             
    U.S. crude futures        were up 22 cents, or 0.5 percent,
at $47.64 a barrel as the Gulf Coast energy hub braced for the
hurricane but were down for the week as the market has been
under pressure from rising U.S. production.
    U.S. production is expected to rise to 9.4 million barrels
per day (bpd) in 2017 and a record 9.9 million bpd in 2018 from
8.9 million bpd in 2016, according to federal projections.
    BHP Billiton         , the world's largest miner, said on
Tuesday it would exit its underperforming U.S. shale oil and gas
business it acquired at the height of the oil boom,            

 (Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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