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U.S. drillers add oil rigs for sixth consecutive week

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Staff Writer | May 11, 2018
oil rig count
Oil exploration   Drillers added 10 oil rigs bringing the total count to 844

U.S. energy companies added oil rigs for a sixth week in a row as crude prices continue to soar to multi-year highs after new sanctions on Iran are anticipated to take some supply out of the market, further supporting U.S. drilling and pushing production to record highs.

Drillers added 10 oil rigs in the week to May 11, bringing the total count to 844, the highest level since March 2015, General Electric's Baker Hughes said.

That was the first time energy firms added rigs for six weeks in a row since early March.

More than half the total oil rigs are in Permian basin in west Texas and eastern New Mexico, the nation's biggest shale oil field. Active units there increased by five this week to 463, the most since January 2015.

The U.S. government expects oil output in the Permian to rise to a record high near 3.2 million barrels per day in May, about 30 percent of total U.S. oil production.

The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago when 712 rigs were active as energy companies have been ramping up production in tandem with OPEC's efforts to cut global output in a bid to take advantage of rising prices.


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