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The U.S. active rig count continued its slow-but-steady climb last week, while the price of oil fell more than $2 throughout the week.

Friday's U.S. combined oil and gas rig count — provided by oilfield services provider Baker Hughes — increased by three for a second-straight week to a mark of 981. That's the count's highest mark since April 10, 2015 (988), and a considerable increase since a recent bottoming-out at 898 on Nov. 3, 2017. Friday's count was up 225 year-over-year (YoY), or 29.8 percent.

The U.S. added one oil rig last week, moving its count to an even 800. That is up 191 YoY, or 31.4 percent, and at its highest mark since April 2, 2015 (802). The U.S. added two gas rigs last week, with its count climbing to 181. That is up 35 YoY, or 24.0 percent.

The U.S. miscellaneous rig count remained at zero.

Of last week's combined rig count, Oklahoma added three, Alaska and Pennsylvania each added two, while new Mexico and Texas added one apiece. Colorado lost three and North Dakota lost a pair, while Louisiana lost one.

Starting last week, I'm also now embedding the daily U.S. rig count provided by Drillinginfo via its recently-launched DailyRigcount.com — a microsite that utilizes data from GPS tracking units and publicly-reported information to monitor oil and gas drilling rig movements in the U.S. Traditional rig counts — such as those from Baker Hughes — typically define a rig as active only when it is "turning to the right," and have been released on Friday afternoons every week since 1944, whereas DailyRigCount defines a rig as active from the time a GPS tracking unit identifies it at a permitted oil and gas drilling location until the time it leaves, and is released daily. In addition, Drillinginfo captures rig movements on weekends and holidays, reflecting the actual activity in the oil field.

Canada/North America

Canada lost four rigs last week, moving its overall rig count to 306, according to Baker Hughes' data. That mark is down 33 YoY, or 9.9 percent. Canada added two oil rigs and lost six gas rigs, with its oil rig count of 211 now up by 14 YoY (7.1 percent) and its gas rig count of 91 down by 47 (34.1 percent).

Friday's North American combined rig count of 1,283 dipped by one from a week earlier and was up by 192 YoY, or 17.6 percent.

Oil Price Update

After hitting a three-week-high last Monday, the price of oil took a sizable dive throughout last week. Oil opened Monday, Feb. 26 at $63.81 and reached $64.01 later that day before a four-day slide. Oil fell below $63 on Tuesday, closed Wednesday at $61.88 and reached the low $60-mark both Thursday and Friday, hitting a low of $60.16 Friday afternoon before rallying some to close the work week at $61.47. Oil opened Monday, March 5 at $61.49 and was at $61.65 as of 9:08 a.m. CT.

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