The Baker Hughes North American rig count is up 21 in the May 19 week to 986, posting the third weekly increase in a row after an uninterrupted string of weekly declines going back to February 24. The U.S. rig count is up 16 to 901 and is up 497 rigs from last year. The Canadian count is up 5 from last week to 85, the first weekly gain since February, and compared to last year is up 41 rigs.
For the U.S. count, rigs classified as drilling for oil are up 8 to 720, gas rigs are up 8 to 180, and miscellaneous rigs are unchanged at 1. For the Canadian count, oil rigs are up 7 to 36 but gas rigs are down 2 to 49.
This week's sizeable increase indicates not only continuation and even acceleration of rising oil and gas exploration and development in the U.S., with the number of rigs more than doubling year-on-year, but also marks the comeback of Canadian drillers, who have been forced to the sidelines as they are every year during the Spring Thaw. News of the sizeable increase in rigs would have normally pushed oil prices lower, but the focus of the oil market is now turned to bullish news that has lifted crude oil futures prices above $50 dollars per barrel today for the first time since April 26 - the declining dollar, which makes crude more expensive in dollar terms, and an OPEC meeting next week in Vienna, which is expected to result in an extension of the OPEC member oil output cuts put in place in November.