Oil rig count falls for the first time in nearly 3 months

The US oil rig count fell this week for the first time in 11 weeks, according to Baker Hughes.

The number of active oil rigs fell by seven to a total of 522. One gas rig was added, taking that total to 136. The additional miscellaneous rig put the combined count at 659, down by six on net.

The tally of oil rigs rose last week to the highest level in one year, as demand for oilfield-services equipment increased with oil prices.

The renewed confidence to return to the market again could cement US shale drillers as the swing producers of the global oil market. If the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries follows through on its agreement to lower output, strong US production could undermine how much higher oil prices could rise.

Crude oil prices were lower on Friday, with West Texas Intermediate crude futures — the US benchmark — down by 0.8% to $52.59 after the rig count. WTI was on pace for its first weekly decline in five weeks.

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