US drillers added 1 rig to the number of oil and gas rigs this week, according to Baker Hughes, with oil rigs holding steady and gas rigs adding one. The oil and gas rig count now stands at 1,046—up 145 from this time last year.
Meanwhile, neighboring Canada gained 4 oil and gas rigs for the week—the first gain in weeks.
Both the Brent and WTI benchmark were trading up on the day at 9:46am EST with Brent crude surpassing the $80 mark at one point on Thursday. The shaky geopolitical landscape in major oil-producing regions has sent oil prices to near four-year highs, as the market grows increasingly wary over possible supply crunches ala US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela’s colossal mess that has sent PDVSA production fall month after month with no end in sight, and OPEC’s almost too-good adherence to its production cut deal.
In the wake of the higher oil prices, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have made public statements that promised to fill any supply gaps, should they in fact materialize, although this has done little to calm the market.
WTI was trading up 0.06% at $71.53, with Brent trading up 0.39% at $79.60. Western Canada Select (WCS) was trading flat at $56.44—a massive discount to WTI.
Working the other side of the push/pull for oil prices, US oil production rose again in the week ending May 11, reaching 10.723 million bpd—the twelfth build in as many weeks—and less than 300,000 bpd shy of the 11.0 million bpd forecast that many are predicting for 2018.
US production has steadily increased since OPEC engaged in a supply cut deal that sought to remove 1.8 million bpd from the market. At the time the deal was announced, the US was producing 8.6 million bpd. Today, the US is producing more than 2.0 million bpd over that figure, while OPEC/NOPEC continues to curb supply on its end.
At 5 minutes after the hour, WTI was trading down 0.36% at $71.23, with Brent trading down 0.24% at $79.06.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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