US oil rig count jumps for 5th straight week

The US oil rig count increased again this week, by three to a total of 477, according to driller Baker Hughes.

Over the last two years, the focus has been on the massive plunge in the number of active oil rigs, which followed the collapse in oil prices.

Now that OPEC has agreed to its first output cut in eight years, pushing oil prices above $50 per barrel, US producers may be encouraged to ramp up production at a faster rate. There is, however, a lag between oil-price and rig-count changes.

One gas rig was brought online this week, taking the total to 119. With one miscellaneous rig remaining in use, the combined tally increased by four to 597.

On Friday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil was headed for its biggest weekly increase since the week of February 21, by 11.5%.

This chart shows the trend in the oil-rig count:

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