US oil drilling activity jumps to 3-year high

Oil producers appear to be moving to capitalize on higher oil prices, with U.S. energy companies adding 15 new oil rigs to production this week, taking total drilling activity to its highest since March 2015.

The total oil rig count rose by 15 to 859 in the week ended May 25, according to Baker Hughes’ weekly drilling update. For the month, total rig count is up by 34.

The weekly and monthly increases are the biggest since February.

A year ago, a total of 722 oil rigs were active, when U.S. crude oil was priced around $50.

U.S. rig count is an important proxy for future oil output.

Oil prices have, overall, been on an upward trajectory, but they declined on Friday following news that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia may work together to increase oil output by a combined 1 million barrels per day.