With the addition of two new oil rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico 16 new ones across the US, there are now a total of 653 drilling for oil and gas.
It is good news for the oil industry, but those numbers are far below the number of rigs operating in 2014 and 2015. According to numbers released last week by the Houston-based oilfield-services company Baker-Hughes, this year’s number is lower by 47 since last year, and is still 65 percent lower than the 1,882 which were pumping out oil and gas at the end of 2014.
Of the 653 rigs working today, 129 are looking for natural gas and the remainder, 523, are bringing out oil.
The oil industry has been suffering as an oil glut continues to keep prices of oil low. Caused by a growing trend of drilling in US shale fields, combined with increased oil production by OPEC, the oil glut brought oil prices to half, and lower, than their mid-2014 high of $115 per barrel.
Lower oil prices froze exploration for new sources of oil and natural gas, and many people in the industry were laid off. The fact that the US rig count has been growing and now is higher than its been since January, could be a harbinger of better times for the industry.
American Natural, an extension of the New York-based Cleopatra Resources, opened a new gasoline, diesel and compressed natural gas station this summer. The company hopes to open additional stations throughout the year.
American Natural entered the Pittsburgh region last year with plans to install their first natural gas station and “fast-casual” convenience store at Station Square. Though the company’s future plans have yet to be revealed, executives have hinted at intentions of expanding the business’s reach and transforming several stations that are already owned.
Last September, American Natural acquired Mon Valley Petroleum, which included 12 Buy-n-Fly gas stations as well as a fuel distribution business. The South Side Station is linked to Equitable Gas’ distribution system, allowing American Natural to add compressed natural gas to the station’s repertoire.
Andrea Feinstein, Executive Vice President at American Natural, explained that several gas stations are likely to be transformed next year.
“Not that every single (former) Buy-n-Fly will turn into this brand, but there may be a couple more over the next 12 months.”
In an effort to promote the use of natural gas, the company has also set up a conversion business which enables existing cars to run on compressed natural gas. This project operates out of the McKeesport garage.