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Oil Updates — Crude settles up; US drillers add oil and gas rigs; Norway’s April lags forecast

RIYADH: Oil prices settled slightly higher on Friday as a planned EU ban on Russian oil and easing of COVID-19 lockdowns in China countered concerns that slowing economic growth will hurt demand.

Brent crude is currently priced at $112.55 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate crude is at $110.28.

US drillers add oil and gas rigs for ninth week in a row

US energy firms this week added oil and natural gas rigs for a ninth week in a row, data showed on Friday, as most small producers respond to high prices and prodding by the government to ramp up output.

The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose 14 to 728 in the week to May 20, its highest since March 2020, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co. said in its closely followed report.

Baker Hughes said that puts the total rig count up 273, or 60 percent, over this time last year.

US oil rigs rose 13 to 576 this week, their highest since March 2020, while gas rigs gained one to 150, their highest since September 2019.

Norway’s April oil output lags forecast by 10.6 percent

Norway’s crude oil output in April missed the official forecast by 10.6 percent, while its gas output was in line with expectations, preliminary data from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate showed on Friday.

Crude oil output fell to 1.66 million barrels per day in April from 1.74 million bpd in March, lagging a forecast of 1.86 million bpd, the NPD said.

Natural gas production in April averaged 327.1 million cubic meters per day, as expected, down from 338.4 mcm/day in March, while the full month output was down to 9.8 billion cubic meters from 10.5 bcm in March, NPD said.

(With input from Reuters)


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