US Oil Rig Count Holds Steady After Six Weeks Of Gains

The U.S. oil rig count held steady this week after rising for six weeks in a row even as crude prices soar to multi-year highs, prompting drillers to extract record amounts of oil, especially from shale.

The total oil rig count held at 844 in the week to May 18, Baker Hughes, a GE company, said in its weekly report. 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 four this week to 467, the most since January 2015.

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.