US Oil Drillers Add Rigs in Longest Streak

US Oil Drillers Add Rigs in Longest StreakUS Oil Drillers Add Rigs in Longest Streak

US oil producers continue to revive drilling in the shale patch, adding rigs for the fourth consecutive week in the longest streak of increases since August.

Rigs targeting crude in the US rose by 14 to 371, after 27 had already been added since the start of the month, Baker Hughes Inc. said on its website. Natural gas rigs declined by 1 to 88, bringing the total for oil and gas up by 15 to 462, Bloomberg reported.

"The North America market has turned," Dave Lesar, chief executive officer at Halliburton, told analysts and investors earlier this week on a conference call. "We expect to see a continued modest uptick in the US rig count during the second half of the year."

Still, the increase in drilling may not have momentum, said Luke Lemoine, an analyst in New Orleans.

"The oil rig count popping 14 rigs this week is likely due to recent oil prices that were closer to $50," he said. It’s "quite possible that we continue to see a few more weeks of follow-through, but if oil prices stay in the low $40s, the rig count’s upward momentum will likely be halted."