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U.S. drillers add oil rigs for second week in a row

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Staff Writer | December 1, 2017
Oil field
Oil exploration   Rising U.S. production

U.S. energy companies this week added oil rigs for a second week in a row as crude prices traded near their highest levels since the summer of 2015.

Drillers added two oil rigs in the week to December 1, bringing the total count up to 749, the highest since September, General Electric’s Baker Hughes said Friday.

Rising U.S. production has been a thorn in OPEC’s side, undermining the impact of its output curbs.

U.S. production rose to 9.5 million bpd in September, its highest monthly output since reaching 9.6 million bpd in April 2015, according to federal energy data going back to 2005. On an annual basis, U.S. output peaked at 9.6 million bpd in 1970.

The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is still much higher than a year ago when only 477 rigs were active after energy companies boosted spending plans for 2017 as crude started recovering from a two-year price crash around the same time OPEC agreed to production cuts a year ago.

The increase in U.S. drilling lasted 14 months before stalling in August, September and October as some producers started trimming their 2017 spending plans after prices turned softer over the summer. Energy firms started adding rigs again in November as crude prices rose.


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