The Baker Hughes Rig Count, a primary gauge of U.S. oil and gas drilling activity, showed on Friday that drillers and roughnecks fired up just one new well last week but have launched a bonafide oil boom over the previous 12 months.
The weekly data show the rig count for the week ended today is 931 compared to 930 last week. But the happy news in the oil patch this Christmas isn't about last week it's about the whole year. Last week's 931 rigs compared to just 278 operating at this time last year.
Crude was quiet on Friday but still held not far from highs in 2015, finding support from last month's agreement between OPEC producers and non-member allies to continue limiting output by 1.8 million barrels a day until the end of next year. That has pushed domestic supplies around the world, especially in the United States, consistently lower.
The Russian Energy Minister told Reuters on Friday that "There is a consensus among the (oil) ministers that we should avoid oversupply on the market when exiting the deal," Novak said, comments that will calm investor worries that Moscow wants a speedy exit.
Reuters also reported that Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said it too early to discuss the next move.
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