Here comes the Baker Hughes rig count ...

We’ll get the latest count of US oil and gas rigs from driller Baker Hughes at the top of the hour.

Like the jobs report, this data is being released today instead of Friday due to Independence Day celebrations over the long weekend.

Last week, the total count of oil and gas rigs climbed for the first time in several weeks, by two to 859.

The oil rig count fell for a 29th straight week, by three to 628, the lowest since August 6, 2010.

On Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell more than 4% to a 10-week low below $US58 per barrel after data showed evidence of a sustained build in US oil inventories.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly tally of commercial crude inventories, which showed an increase in stockpiles for the first time in nine weeks.

Ahead of the rig counts data, WTI was up nearly 1% at around $US57.47 per barrel.

It appears that the plunge in the rig count is levelling off. As Goldman Sachs analysts have said in their weekly note on oil rigs for the last few weeks now, “should WTI prices remain near $US60/bbl, US producers will ramp up activity given improved returns with costs down nearly 30% and producers increasingly comfortable at the current costs/revenue/funding mix.”

We’ll be back with the details of this week’s rig counts once the numbers cross. Here’s the most recent chart of the oil rig plunge:

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