Rig count leaps by 35, largest jump in 5 years

The number of oil and gas rigs in U.S. fields skyrocketed this week, up 35 over last week — the largest increase in five years, since the U.S. shale revolution was booming.

After a dip last week, this week’s count marks the ninth increase in the last 10 weeks, and brings to almost 300 the number of rigs added since the count fell to its most recent low last spring.

U.S. oil drillers collectively sent 29 more rigs into the patch this week, the Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday. Gas drillers added six rigs.

Texas led the rise, with 17 more rigs. West Texas’ Permian Basin added 13. Oklahoma added seven.

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The total rig count rose to 694, up from a low of 404 in May. The number of rigs has now surpassed the count from this time last year, when 637 were operating in U.S. oil and gas fields.

The number of active oil rigs jumped to 551 this week. Gas rigs ticked up to 142. The number of offshore rigs dipped by one to 24, down 5 rigs year over year.

Total rig counts incrased by 17 in Texas, seven in Oklahoma, three in North Dakota, two in Ohio, and one each in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia. Not a single state lost a rig this week.

The Permian has now added almost 150 rigs, doubling its total since the May low.

Drilling activity has continued to rise despite stagnating oil prices. Since February’s low of about $26 a barrel, prices have hovered above $50 for several weeks now.

U.S. oil prices Thursday settled at $51.37, up 29 cents, or about half a percent, and were rising again in midday trading Friday, following news that global oil demand was up and supplies down.

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