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The U.S. added another dozen rigs exploring for oil and gas last week, while oil prices took a dive after holding steady for more than two months.

Friday's active U.S. rig count rose by 12 for last week to a total of 768, it's eighth straight week the combined total has risen. The count, provided by oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, was up 60 percent year-over-year and up 90.1 percent since bottoming out at 404 in May 2016.

The U.S. added eight oil rigs last week, pushing its current mark to 617. It was the eighth straight week the oil rig count has grown, and the 18th week in the past 19. The 617 figure is up 60.0 percent year-over-year, and up 95.3 percent since bottoming out at 316 last May. The current total is still far below the the 1,600 mark it checked in at on Oct. 10, 2014, but has grown steadily for nine months.

The U.S. added five gas rigs last week, snapping a two-week skid (-7 over previous two weeks). The active gas rig count of 151 is up 60.6 percent year-over-year, and up 86.4 percent since bottoming out at 81 in August 2016.

The U.S. lost one miscelleneous rig, with that count now at zero.

Louisiana led the overall rig count gain, adding five last week. Colorado and Oklahoma each added three, Ohio and Wyoming each added two and California added one. Alaska lost three and New Mexico lost one.

Canada's rig count continued to decline, losing 20 last week. It lost 17 oil rigs and 3 gas rigs, and its total count now sits at 315. Even with its recent declines, that combined count is up 221 percent year-over-year, with its 180 oil rigs up by 152 and 135 gas rigs up by 65.

Friday's combined North American rig count of 1,083 was down eight from a week earlier. It was up 505 year-over-year, or 87.4 percent.

Oil Price Update

After holding steady in the mid-$50 range for more than two months, U.S. Brent crude oil prices took a sharp dive last week. Oil opened March 6 at $55.80, but closed Friday at $51.37, dropping $4.55 between Wednesday-Friday.

Until Wednesday, oil had closed at between $54.26 and $57.49 each day since Dec. 1.

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