US Oil Drillers Add Rigs for 2nd Straight Week

US Oil Drillers Add Rigs for 2nd Straight WeekUS Oil Drillers Add Rigs for 2nd Straight Week

Drillers put rigs in US oilfields back to work for a second straight week, suggesting the end of an unprecedented retreat from the country’s prolific shale formations.

Rigs targeting oil in the US increased by five to 645, Baker Hughes Inc. said on its website. They rose by 12 last week. Natural gas rigs fell by two to 217 and miscellaneous rigs dropped by two to one, bringing the total count up one to 863.

The biggest regional growth came in the Permian Basin of West Texas, where eight oil rigs were added to 239. The Eagle Ford shale in South Texas saw a drop of five rigs to 81.

More than half the country’s oil rigs have been sidelined as prices slipped to near $50 a barrel from more than $100 a year ago. Even with the collapse in drilling, US crude output rose 9,000 barrels a day to 9.6 million in the seven days ended July 3, just shy of the 9.61 million record set on June 5, Energy Information Administration data show.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil for August delivery declined by 4 cents to $52.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, down more than half from the 52-week high of $105.25 reached last July.

Oil explorers are retreating from US fields as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which accounts for more than a third of the world’s oil, resists calls to curb its own supply. The 12-nation group will boost exports 0.8% in the four weeks to July 25, tanker tracker Oil Movements said in a report.