The latest Baker Hughes North American rig count for the week ending April 21st increased to a total of 857 from 847 the previous week.
The number of oil rigs increased to 688 from 683 previously and the total has increased for 14 weeks in succession. The overall total was the highest since May 2015 with an increase of just over 100% from the same week in 2016. The weekly increase was, however, the slowest since late February.
There was also a weekly increase of 5 in the gas rig count to 167 from 162 previously.
In contrast to solid gains over the previous two weeks, there was an increase of only 1 rig for the Permian Basin to 340, although with a sharp increase from 136 in April 2016.
There was a small increase of 3 rigs for the Eagle Ford Basin for the week.
After a shift last week, the geographical distribution reverted to the recent pattern with Texas adding 6 rigs to 426 while there were only minor changes in other states.
US oil production will continue to increase in the short term given the number of new rigs coming on stream this year. There has, however, been some loss of momentum during April which suggests that the impact of capital spending decisions made early in 2017 is now starting to fade. Output growth is liable to slow from late in the second quarter with a slightly more cautious tone.
Oil prices came under renewed selling pressure during US trading on Friday with a fresh round of stop-loss selling after WTI broke below the key $50.00 p/b level. There were lows close to $49.20 before marginal recovery.
WTI ticked lower on the data with WTI trading below $49.30 before a recovery back above this level.