For the week ending October 7, the number of U.S. rigs used for drilling related to natural gas and crude oil increased surpassed 2,000 for the first time since the week ending September 19, 2008.
Of the rigs that were functional during the period, a total of 935 were used for drilling natural gas and 1,070 were drilling for oil, according to Oil & Gas Journal.
This robust rig utilization comes at a time when natural gas prices have been suffering due to the large supply of shale in North America. The Wall Street Journal reports that natural gas futures scheduled for December delivery sank to $3.553 per million British thermal units, which is close to the contract's lowest point in 11 months.
Bloomberg reports that an Energy Department report released the week of October 10 indicated that U.S. gas supplies may increase to 3.77 trillion cubic feet by the end of the month, near the record 3.84 trillion set in November of 2010.
The bold action of increasing rig count in the face of low natural gas prices and high inventories shows the bearishness of officials working in the energy industry.