- AP/Wong Maye-E
The US oil rig count increased by two to 525 in the final week of 2016, rising to the highest level in a year, according to oilfield-services company Baker Hughes.
The gas rig count increased by three to 132. With one miscellaneous rig remaining in use, the total count rose by five to 658.
In 2016, the oil rig count staged a comeback not seen since the most recent oil crash. This week’s increase put it just 11 rigs short of where it started the year, but well off pre-crash levels.
After oil prices bottomed in February and started rising, producers gained confidence to increase activity. The crash caused demand for oilfield-services equipment to plunge, and forced drillers to find ways to produce more efficiently.
US production levels will continue to be closely watched in 2017, especially as OPEC and non-OPEC members implement their agreement to lower output.
Crude oil prices were little changed after the rig-count release on a light day of trading. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the US benchmark, were down 0.2% to $53.60 per barrel. Oil was on pace to finish up 46% for the year.
- Andy Kiersz/Business Insider, data from Baker Hughes