Oil Patch Cuts More Drilling as Rig Owner Sees Attitude Shift

(Bloomberg) -- Oil explorers idled rigs in the U.S. for a second consecutive week as operators shifted focus from production growth to cash flow.

Working oil rigs fell by 20 this week to 805, according to data released Friday by oilfield-services provider Baker Hughes. Companies have boosted activity just twice in the past 10 weeks.

In previous booms, a 40 percent price bump such as has been seen this year would’ve spurred greater activity, according to Helmerich & Payne Inc., the biggest U.S. onshore rig contractor.

“Yet today, we are seeing a more tempered response and even reductions in activity by some in the industry,” Chief Executive Officer John Lindsay told analysts and investors during a conference call. “Clearly, customer behavior is changing and the movement is towards prioritization of cash flows and less focus on growth.”

U.S. crude production rose by 100,000 barrels a day last week as it returned to a record 12.2 million, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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