US Oil Rig Count Rises by 10 to 862 in Biggest Increase in Five Weeks; Canada Tally Climbs

The number of oil rigs operating in the US rose by 10 this week, the biggest increase in five weeks, Baker Hughes (BHGE) said in its closely watched tally Friday.

The US oil rig count reached 862 in the week through Friday from 852 in the week prior and compared with the year earlier count of 759 rigs. The gas tally decreased by one in the week to 197 but was higher than the year ago tally of 188.

The country’s total of 1,059 was up by nine in the week, the first increase since period ending Dec. 28, according to the data from Baker Hughes, which are seen as an indicator of future energy commodity production.

Oil prices ticked higher on Friday amid political turmoil in Venezuela that offset the sign of rising US output. West Texas Intermediate, the main US variety, rose 0.9% to $53.58 a barrel at the time of writing, while Brent, the international standard, added 0.7% to $61.50.

The Baker Hughes data showed the North American total for oil and gas was up by 32 to 1,291, and that was six higher than the year earlier tally of 1,285. Canada’s count saw more swings, with the oil rig tally rising by 18 in the week to 146, the highest since Sept. 14. Gas climbed by five rigs to 86. A year ago, Canada’s oil tally was at 220 and gas was at 118.

Among the US states, New Mexico’s count rose by four, North Dakota added three rigs while Utah, West Virginia and Louisiana were each up by two. Alaska, Colorado, and Ohio all added a single rig.

Top producer Texas saw its rig count decline by four, while Wyoming, Pennsylvania and California each lost one rig.