For the 13th week in the last 14 weeks, US oil companies added oil rigs, extending a nine-month recovery that continues to be supported by higher oil prices. Oil prices have remained north of $50/bbl ever since OPEC and major non-OPEC producers agreed to cut output in late November and early December.
For the week ending February 3, 2017 oil rigs were added in the US oil patch, bringing the total count to 583, the most since October 2015, according to the weekly Baker Hughes report. During the same week in 2016, the oil rig count stood at 467. Since oil prices first rose above $50/bbl in May, drillers have added 267 oil rigs in 32 of the last 36 weeks, representing the largest rig recovery since oil prices started crashing in mid-2014.
Simmons & Co analysts and energy specialists at US investment bank Piper Jaffray, this week told Reuters that they forecast the total oil and gas rig count would average 795 in 2017, 911 in 2018 and 1,022 in 2019.