(Updates with historical comparisons beginning in the third paragraph.)
March 1 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. oil and gas rig count declined by four to 1,757 this week, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc.
Oil rigs increased by four to 1,333, data posted on Baker Hughes Inc.’s website show. The gas count lost eight to 420, the lowest level of 2013, the field-services company based in Houston said.
The total rig count has dropped for 11 of 14 weeks as producers become more familiar with unconventional plays and are able to complete more wells with fewer rigs. More efficient drilling technologies have helped drive U.S. crude production to the highest level in more than 20 years, weakening the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
The U.S. produced more than 7 million barrels of oil a day for the first time more than 20 years, the Energy Information Administration, a division of the Energy Department, said this week. Output was 7.01 million barrels a day in November, revised up from 6.89 million previously and the highest since December 1992, the agency said in a monthly supply report released Feb. 27.
U.S. oil stockpiles rose 0.3 percent to 377.5 million barrels last week and reached a 22-year high of 387.3 million in June. Gas stockpiles fell 171 billion cubic feet in the week ended Feb. 22 to 2.2 trillion, according to data compiled by the EIA. They reached a record high of 3.929 trillion cubic feet on Nov. 2.
--Editors: Richard Stubbe, Charlotte Porter