The US oil-rig count increased by 10 to 662 this week, according to oilfield-services giant Baker Hughes.
The gas-rig count rose by five to 160. Miscellaneous rigs were unchanged at two, taking the combined count of all rigs up by 15 to 824.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures were headed for a 5% weekly gain, the most since November 27. Oil returned above $US50 per barrel amid speculation that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries would extend its deal to cut output beyond June. Also, data from the Energy Information Administration showed that inventories rose less than expected last week.
The deal between OPEC and some non-members to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017 has not substantially lowered global oil stockpiles. With US oil rigs still on the rise, production would likely remained robust.
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