US oil rig count rises for 4th straight week

The US oil rig count rose by 3 to 474 this week, the highest level since late January, according to oil drilling services provider Baker Hughes.

Last week, the count of oil rigs spiked by 19, the biggest weekly increase since July 2015. Although it sustained the recent uptrend, the tally is still far from its 2014 peak — right when producers started taking rigs offline to cope with the oil crash.

Crude oil prices got some support this week from the two-day OPEC meeting, which is a precursor to its big meeting November 30. Russia, Iran, and Iraq all indicated that they were open to discuss a 4% to 4.5% cut in output at the meeting of oil producers.

The continued rise of the oil rig count could put more pressure on OPEC, since higher US output could offset their efforts to cut production and support prices.

After the data release, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures were up 0.2% at $48.13 per barrel. Oil prices gained Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on inventories showed an unexpected decline for last week.

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