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, and the longest stretch of increases in six years.
One gas rig was taken offline, for a total of 172.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the US benchmark, was on pace for a 3% weekly rise, its first weekly 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 0.5% at $US47.60 per barrel ahead of the rig-count release.
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.
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