US oil rig count rises for 17th straight week, extending the longest stretch since 2011

oil rigREUTERS/Jim Urquhart

The US oil-rig count rose this week by nine to 712, according to the oilfields-services giant Baker Hughes.

That’s the highest level since the week of April 17, 2015. The increase extended the longest stretch of rig additions in six years, illustrating that drillers are finding efficient ways to ramp up production in a lower oil-price environment.

OPEC and other key producers will meet on May 25 to decide whether to extend their agreement to cut production by almost 1.8 million barrels per day. They reached the unprecedented agreement, which kicked in this year, in November to reduce the global oversupply of oil that crashed prices. But the resilience of US oil producers has helped keep a lid on prices.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the US benchmark, was on pace for a 3% weekly rise, its first increase in four weeks and the biggest in five. On Wednesday, data from the Energy Information Administration showed that crude inventories fell by 5.3 million barrels last week, which was more than analysts had expected.

WTI was down by 0.4% at $47.64 per barrel after the rig-count release.

One gas rig was taken offline, for a total of 172. With the count of one miscellaneous rig unchanged, the total rig count rose by eight to 885.5 12 17 oil rigs chartAndy Kiersz/Business Insider

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