US oil rig count rises for 9th straight week

Oil rigKaren Ducey/GettyEnvironmental activists from the Duwamish Tribe protest the arrival of the Polar Pioneer, an oil drilling rig owned by Shell Oil, as it arrives on May 14, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.

The US oil-rig count rose this week by 14 to a total of 631, oilfield-services giant Baker Hughes said.

The gas-rig count rose by six to 157. One miscellaneous rig was brought online, and so the total rig count rose by 21 to 789.

The oil-rig count is a key proxy for US production levels and shale-industry investment. Robust production — which has outpaced the pace of the rig count’s climb — has undermined efforts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to lift prices by cutting output.

Last week, the oil-rig count rose by eight and the gas rig count increased by five. One miscellaneous rig was taken offline.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil is one of the worst performing commodities year-to-date, and last week saw its largest weekly decline since late-October. Following the rig-count release, WTI futures for April delivery were on pace for a 0.5% weekly gain.

The oil rig count is at the highest level since September 25, 2015.

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