(Reuters) – U.S. energy firms this week reduced the number of oil rigs operating for the first time in three weeks as production growth forecasts from shale, the country’s largest oil fields, continue to shrink.

FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates in front of a drilling rig at sunset in an oil field in Midland, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

Drillers cut eight oil rigs in the week to April 18, bringing the total count down to 825, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Thursday.

Baker Hughes released the report a day early this week due to the Good Friday holiday.

The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is still a bit