While OPEC complies with promised production cuts, the U.S. keeps drilling, albeit at a slightly slower pace than previous weeks.
U.S. oil and gas producers brought 12 rigs online this week after adding 70 rigs in the past three weeks.
Oil producers brought eight rigs online, while the gas rig count climbed by four, according to oilfield services giant Baker Hughes (BHI) . The increase this week pushes the overall rig count to 741, which represents a roughly 37% increase from the same period last year.
"The last three weekly reports in this series have shown a surge in producing oil rigs all the way from 522 to that 583 count [last week]," TheStreet contributor Stephen Guilfoyle wrote Friday. "Would I be surprised to see the rig count continue climbing like this? I would be surprised if it did not," Guilfoyle said.
The lucrative west Texas Permian basin jumped back to the top spot this week, adding six rigs. Last week the prolific basin saw the second largest build in rigs. Meanwhile, Eagle Ford and Marcellus basins both brought three rigs online this week, tying for the second largest increase in rigs.
The offshore rig count dropped by one this week to 21.
Two basins, Cana Woodford and Utica, also took rigs offline.
Immediately following the rig count, oil prices were gaining. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery was climbing by about 1.4% to trade hands at $53.95 a barrel, while Brent crude futures were up 1.9% to $56.69.
Oil prices had been rising prior to the report on word from the International Energy Agency that OPEC members were holding true to their promise to cut production output. The IEA said the cuts thus far achieved a "record initial compliance rate of 90%.
Energy stocks were mostly higher during the trading session Friday. Oil majors ExxonMobil (XOM) - Get Report and ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get Report were both in the green; the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Report rose by nearly 1.1%.
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