Rig count sees small gain amid double whammy for oil

The amount of rigs in the U.S. drilling for oil jumped slightly by two this week in advance of bad new for oil prices on Friday.

The double whammy for oil prices included Saudi Arabia indicating it’ll only freeze production levels if Iran does the same — an unlikely scenario between the two rivals — as well as domestic news that the Federal Reserve is considering making it harder for banks to trade physical commodities like oil and gas.

The news sent U.S. oil prices plummeting back below $45 a barrel on Friday morning.

Still, the nation’s drilling rig count is continuing to slowly tick up. The U.S. saw a net gain of five rigs for the week — two primarily drilling for oil and three seeking natural gas — according to data collected by the Baker Hughes oilfield services firm.

Two rigs were gained in Texas, but the active Permian Basin actually saw a loss of one rig.

The total count of 511 rigs is up from an all-time low of 404 in May, according to Baker Hughes. Of the total, 418 of them are primarily drilling for oil. But the oil rig count is down 74 percent from its peak of 1,609 in October 2014, before oil prices began plummeting.

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