United States oil-rig count increases to a almost two-year high

Why Oil Rig Count Could Be Bad News for Natural Gas Bulls

"Given the faster than anticipated increase, we now model 2017 USA land rig count to average 865 rigs vs. 741 previously (early Feb.) with the majority of gains occurring in [the first half of 2017]", Dennison and Braden wrote.

Analysts projected US energy firms would boost spending on drilling and pump more oil and natural gas from shale fields in coming years with energy prices expected to climb.

United States oil production will continue to increase in the short term given the number of new rigs coming on stream this year. After peaking at 1,609 in October 2014, low oil prices put downward pressure on production and the rig count receded.

But OPEC is not throwing in the towel just yet, as more rumors surfaced today saying that an OPEC and non-OPEC technical committee recommended an extension for another six months. Gas rigs rose by five to 167 and miscellaneous rigs remained unchanged at two, leaving the total rotary rig count at 857. The last time oil rigs were this high was two years ago this week.

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Drillers added five oil rigs in the week to April 21, bringing the total count up to 688, the most since April 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday.

Both benchmarks were trading down on the day pre-data release, with WTI off by a staggering $1.02 per barrel-or 2.01%, and Brent crude down $0.91 or 1.72%.

Canada lost 19 oil and gas rigs this week, but still sits at 59 above last year's count. South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale oil and natural gas play saw the largest uptick in drilling activity with three new rigs coming online.

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