Baker Hughes Reports Spike In U.S. Oil-rig Count

By Myra P. Saefong Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Data from Baker Hughes Friday revealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil climbed by 21 to 498 rigs this week. That's the highest level since January, according to Citi Futures' Tim Evans. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, also jumped by 27 to 624, according to Baker Hughes. "It looks like the OPEC deal, as well as the end of the year, is inspiring the drillers to get cracking," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group. He also pointed out that "some drillers may have to start drilling before the end of the year to keep leases." Prices for oil appeared unfazed by the rig data, with January crude holding onto its gains, trading at $51.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 59 cents, or 1.2%.

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