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U.S. oil rig count holds steady after six weeks of gains

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Staff Writer | May 18, 2018
The U.S. oil rig count held steady this week after rising for six weeks in a row.
oil rig count
Oil exploration   An early indicator of future output
The total oil rig count held at 844 in the week to May 18, General Electric's Baker said.

The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago when 720 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.

U.S. crude futures traded over $72 a barrel this week on concerns that Iranian exports could fall because of renewed U.S. sanctions, their highest since November 2014. Looking ahead, crude futures were trading around $70 for the balance of 2018 and $66 for calendar 2019.

Shale production is expected rise to a record high 7.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, with the majority of the increase from the Permian basin, the biggest U.S. oil patch, where output is forecast to climb to a fresh high of 3.3 million bpd, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) this week projected.