December 30, 2016 / 6:10 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. oil rig count recovers to end 2016 near year-ago levels -Baker Hughes

Dec 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. oil rig count ended 2016 just
below year-ago levels as drillers added rigs this week as part
of the biggest recovery since a global oil glut crushed the
market over two years.
    Drillers added two oil rigs in the week to Dec. 30, bringing
the total count up to 525, the most since December 2015 and 11
shy of the 536 rigs seen at the end of 2015, energy services
firm Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday. RIG-OL-USA-BHI
    Since crude prices recovered from 13-year lows in February
to around $50 a barrel in May, drillers have added a total of
209 oil rigs in 28 of the past 31 weeks, fueled by prices
climbing to near 17-month highs.
    The Baker Hughes oil rig count plunged from a record 1,609
in October 2014 to a six-year low of 316 in May as U.S. crude
collapsed from over $107 a barrel in June 2014 to near $26 in
February 2016.    
    U.S. crude futures were trading at $53.60 a barrel on
Friday, on its way to over 40 percent growth for the year, the
largest annual percentage growth since 2009.
    Futures for both calendar 2017 and 2018
 were trading around $56 a barrel.
    Analysts said they expect U.S. energy firms to boost
spending on drilling and pump more oil and natural gas from
shale fields in coming years now that energy prices are
projected to keep climbing.
    The total oil and natural gas rig count ended 2016 at 658,
down 6 percent from the 698 at the finish of 2015. 

 (Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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