US oil rig count climbs for 5th straight week

The US oil rig count increased by six this week to 597, according to Baker Hughes.

The gas rig count rose four to 153. One miscellaneous rig remained in use, taking the total rig count up by 10 to 751.

The tally of oil rigs, which plunged with oil prices in 2014, rose by eight last week. The count is more than 80% above the low reached in May 2016.

US oil production remained steady even after the rig count began to fall, declining by only about 12% from the top to the bottom, according to Societe Generale. Oil watchers continue to wait and see whether US production hampers efforts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-members to reduce their output.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil — the US benchmark — was on pace to close lower for the first week in five after the rig-count release.

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