Drillers added nine oil rigs in the week to May 4, bringing the total count to 834, the highest level since March 2015, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.
More than half the total oil rigs are in the Permian basin in west Texas and eastern New Mexico. Active units there increased by six this week to 458, the most since January 2015.
The U.S. government expects oil output in the Permian to rise to a record high near 3.2 million barrels per day in May, about 30 percent of total U.S. oil production.
The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago when 703 rigs were active as energy companies have been ramping up production in tandem with OPEC’s efforts to cut global output, in a bid to take advantage of rising prices.