The US oil rig count is set for its biggest quarterly rise in two years, according to recently published data from oilfield services firm Baker Hughes.
There have been 88 oil rig additions so far this quarter, with just a few days to go in the current quarter, according to the firm’s latest weekly rig count report published on September 24.
This is the most since the first quarter of 2014, when a total of 105 rigs were added, a Reuters report noted.
In addition, US drillers have added – or at least not removed – rigs for 13 consecutive weeks during this quarter, representing the longest period of not cutting rigs since 2011.
Around two-thirds of new rig additions since May have been from small, independent drillers, Reuters reported.
US oil drillers added two rigs in the week ending on September 23, which took the oil rig count to 418, according to Baker Hughes. This is the highest number of rigs since February but it is still considerably lower than the 641 oil rigs reported at the end of September 2015, but up from a low of 316 earlier this year.
In October 2014, the oil rig count reached a record high of 1,609. However, since then, the collapse in crude prices has resulted in a significant decline in the rig count.
In the first half of this year US drillers cut a total of 285 oil rigs, following a drop of 946 oil rigs over the whole of 2015.
Thanks to the recent recovery, the number of US oil rigs is down 98 so far since the start of 2016.
The number of rigs is widely expected to rise in 2017 and 2018, but these increases could be slight if oil prices do not firm significantly over that period.
WTI prices rose above US$47 per barrel this week after OPEC agreed on September 28 to modest oil cuts in production, marking the first such deal since 2008.