U.S. Oil and Gas Producers Add Rigs for 4th Straight Week Ahead of OPEC Meeting

U.S. oil and gas producers added five more rigs in the past week, according to Houston-based Baker Hughes (BHI) , bringing the count up to 592.

The oilfield services giant reported that three oil rigs were added, while natural gas rigs climbed by two. Currently, the U.S. oil rig count stands at 474, while the gas rig count totals 118.

The Permian Basin, which saw the biggest increase in rigs last week with 11 oil rigs added, saw its rig count decline by one during the past week. There are now 228 rigs operating in the lucrative west Texas' region, the most in any major domestic basin.

The U.S. offshore rig count remained at 23, holding flat after a two-rig climb last week.

This week's three-rig increase for domestic oil rigs marks the fourth consecutive week of an uptick. Still, the rig count is well below last year's count during the same period, when there were 555 oil rigs and 189 gas rigs.

The Baker Hughes rig count is seen as an important industry barometer for drilling activity across the U.S. and North America.

The uptick in rigs also comes as oil traders eye the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) Nov. 30 meeting in Vienna, when the cartel is expected to reach an agreement on a production cut that will likely move the U.S. and global oil markets.

Iraq, OPEC's second largest crude producer, said Wednesday that its priority is to raise the price of a barrel of crude and that it is willing to cut its output to help stabilize the global oil market, according to Reuters.

However, oil prices remained volatile Wednesday, as the strengthening dollar weighed on crude even though U.S. crude inventories declined.

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