US rig count falls to the lowest level on record

The combined count of US oil and gas rigs is at the lowest level since at least 1949.

Data from driller Baker Hughes Friday showed that the tally dropped to a new record this week as the oil rig count fell by 6 to 386. The total count of oil and gas rigs fell 9 to 480.

This is the 12th straight week of declines in oil rigs, which are at the lowest level since the week of December 4, 2009.

Crude oil prices have rallied in the last few weeks. Crude gained again on Friday after the International Energy Agency said it looks like prices may finally be reversing direction.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York gained 2% to as high as $39.02 per barrel on Friday. Oil headed for a fourth straight week of gains.

Here’s a chart of the combined-rig count going back a few years:

And here’s a chart of the oil-rig count:

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