United States rig count rises by 15, largest increase in 8 months

US Adds Most Oil Rigs Since June

Five Natural Gas Rigs Added as US Count Climbs by 15

USA energy companies added 10 oil rigs this week, the biggest increase since June, as crude prices rose to their highest levels in three years, prompting drillers to return to the well pad.

The United States added 15 rigs total for the week - including 10 oil-directed units - to end at 939, good for 280 more active rigs than a year ago. Thirteen of these rigs are land-based, while two are offshore. Eight directional units were added, along with seven horizontal units, while vertical units held flat week/week, according to BHI.

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Energy firms in both the United States and Canada have mostly increased the number of rigs operating since the summer of 2016 as USA crude prices climbed over the key US$50 a barrel level that analysts said would prompt drillers to return to the well pad. The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago when only 522 rigs were active after energy companies boosted spending plans in 2017 as crude started recovering from a two-year price crash.

The gains also came as prompt-month oil prices were steadily climbing, with February crude oil trading above $64/bbl Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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The combined North American tally finished the week at 1,215, from 1,098 a week ago and 974 in the year-ago period.

In Oklahoma, the count increased by three this week to 121, up 44 percent from 84 one year ago. There were 939 oil and natural gas rigs active on January 12. The Haynesville Shale, Mississippian Lime and Denver Julesburg-Niobrara formation each saw one rig return during the week, according to BHI.

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That was the biggest weekly increase since drillers added 89 rigs during the same week in 2017. Last week, it forecast 997 in 2018 and 1,126 in 2019.

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