Oil rig count rises for 6th straight week

The US oil rig count rose by three to 428 this week, according to oilfield-services giant Baker Hughes.

The gas rig count fell by two to 94. Miscellaneous rigs rose by one to two, taking the total up by two to 524.

Last week, the oil-rig count increased by seven, while the gas rig count rose by four.

Drillers were forced to cut costs in the wake of the oil crash, and taking active rigs offline was one way to achieve that.

The rig count plunged, and its changes became a way to gauge how oilfields service providers were responding to the downturn.

Oil prices have stabilised in a range of about $40 to $50 per barrel. And on Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the benchmark of US prices, rose above $50 per barrel for the first time since June.

There’s usually a lag between when oil prices rise and when drillers bring rigs back online. The rig count has not dropped for 15 straight weeks, likely reflecting producers’ growing confidence as oil prices stopped tumbling.

Here’s the latest chart:

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