Oil explorers maintained drilling activity close to a 3 1/2-year high, spurred by oil prices that have been above $60 a barrel for most of this year.
Working U.S. oil rigs ticked down by one to 874, according to data released Friday by oilfield services provider Baker Hughes. More than 120 additional rigs have been deployed across American fields this year.
U.S. drillers probably will continue expanding exploration efforts through the end of this year, according to Tony Petrello, CEO of Nabors Industries Ltd., the world’s biggest owner of onshore rigs.
“The main driver for our industry remains the favorable oil price environment,” Petrello said during a conference call earlier this week.
Crude producers in the U.S. are pumping a record 11.2 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administration.