United States rig count rises by 15, largest increase in 8 months

Including 187 other land rigs drilling for natural gas, there are a total of 939 working rigs in the country, 15 more than a week ago and up by 280 year over year.

Drillers added 87 oil rigs during the week ended January 12 bringing the total count up to 185, the highest level since March 2017, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.

Meanwhile, the USA oil prices leaped above $63 a barrel this week, closing Thursday at $63.80 a barrel, a rise of 23 cents.

Among plays, the Permian Basin saw a net gain of three rigs for the week to end at 403 units, well above the 268 units running a year ago.

The sharp pickup in new oil rigs being put to work is nearly surely a reaction to crude oil prices that have reached a three-year high.


The gains also came as prompt-month oil prices were steadily climbing, with February crude oil trading above $64/bbl Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The U.S. rig count, is an early indication of future output, is significantly higher than last year's count of 522 active rigs after energy companies increased spending plans as crude began to recover from its two-year price drop. The week's healthy gains followed two previous weeks of a declining rig count.

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Arkansas, California, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

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