HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US added six new oil drilling rigs this week, the third week in a row of gains as WTI prices ended the week above $60/bbl.
Global crude prices faced downward pressure earlier in the week as Coronavirus cases continued to soar in several European countries.
But a large containership ran aground in the Suez Canal on Tuesday, blocking all traffic through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes between the Middle East, Asia and Europe, especially for oil and refined fuels.
The 324 operating oil rigs are 300 fewer than were operating at the same time a year ago, according to drilling services provider Baker Hughes.
There were no new natural gas drilling rigs added this week and the total remains at its highest since April 2020.
US refinery utilisation is approaching pre-storm levels as plants continue to ramp-up following the freezing weather that in mid-February brought about widespread outages on the Gulf Coast.
US refinery rates in the week ended 19 March rose 5.5 percentage points to 81.6%, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.