With some project work developing, market conditions have continued to improve for weld fittings and flanges. Price increases on carbon steel flanges have averaged 10%. Prices have increased 5.0-15.0% for carbon butt weld fittings. There are indications of tightening supply as inventories are being replenished.
The Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count on March 31 reflects the year-over-year improvement in operating rigs. The current rig count in North America is 979 oil and gas rigs compared to 499 at the same time in 2016. Oil rigs stand at 719 vs. 373 a year ago and gas rigs are 260 vs. 126 in 2016. The biggest changes are in Permian, which is at 319 vs. 145 a year ago. Eagle Ford is at 73 vs. 42 a year ago and Cana Woodford is at 48 vs. 30 the same time last year.
At the time of this writing, WTU Crude is $51.87 per barrel. Turmoil in the Middle East may have an impact on prices in 2Q17, but supplies have remained strong and so far efforts to stabilize pricing have been successful. Natural gas, as priced at the Henry Hub, is $3.29 per Dekatherm. This is just a few cents from the 52-week high and low for natural gas.