US Oil Rig Count Rises for 7th Straight Week, Baker Hughes Says

The US oil-rig count rose by seven to 609 this week, according to oilfield-services giant Baker Hughes.

The gas rig count fell by five to 146. With miscellaneous rigs unchanged at one, the total rig count rose by two to 756.

Last week the tally of oil rigs rose by six.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures are headed for a weekly loss of about 1.5%, following data that shows US inventories remain high while demand for oil rigs increases.

Data from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed that inventories rose for an eighth straight week, by 1.5 million barrels. At 502 million barrels, US oil inventories are at the higher end of the average range for this time of year, the EIA said.

That is straining how high oil prices can rise, even as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries stresses its commitment to cut output as agreed in November. A Bloomberg surveyfound that Saudi Arabia pumped below its target of 10.06 million barrels a day for a second straight month in February.

The front-month WTI contract traded at $53.17 per barrel, up by 1.06%, after the rig-count release.