Oil Holds Firm As US Rig Count Jumps Higher
US oil prices rose on Friday, thanks to another bout of US dollar weakness and despite a sharp rise in the number of rigs looking for oil across America.
They left the US benchmark to settle at yet another three years plus high.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures closed at $US66.14 a barrel, up nearly 1%.
Brent crude futures settled up 0.1%, at $US70.52 a barrel after hitting a session high of $US70.83. On Thursday, the contract climbed to as high as $US71.28, its highest since 2014.
WTI futures hit an intraday high of $US66.66 on Thursday.
Brent was up nearly 2.8% for the week while WTI jumped nearly 4.5% as the front month changed last Monday to the March contract. Prices were up for the 5th week in the last six.
US stocks fell for a 10th week - down 1.1 million barrels to 411 million, the longest consecutive fall so far recorded. US production is approaching the record milestone 10 million barrel-a-day mark, based on EIA data. The week before last it was averaging 9.97 million barrels a day, up 128,000 barrels in a week.
The 10 million barrel a day level could be reached next month at this rate.
The industry is certainly going all out to add barrels - on Friday afternoon, Baker Hughes said the number of rigs actively looking for oil jumped by 12 to 759.
That was after a fall of 5 the week before and a rise of 10 the week before that.
The total active US rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, rose by 11 to 947.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.