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Rig count stable but tipped to fall as oil prices slide

By James Sean Dickson
Published: Friday, 12 December 2014

Despite the sustained reduction in oil prices, the number of drilling rigs has remained stable, according to Baker Hughes data. Medium term pricing headwinds make it unlikely that the stability will remain for long however, with the rig count expected to fall in the near future, driven by higher opex unconventional wells. This will affect demand for oilfield minerals such as barite, bentonite and frac sand.

The price of Brent crude fell below the $60/barrel mark on Friday, in what has become a fifth consecutive month of declining oil prices. The sagging oil market has left the oilfield minerals supply chain uncertain about future medium-term demand from exploratory operations, which require a number of industrial minerals for the formulation of high-density...

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