By Ezequiel Minaya
The number of oil rigs in the U.S. jumped by 21 in the past week to a total of 498, according to oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc.
The increase ranks among the largest of the year as oil prices surged above $50 a barrel after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries committed to a 1.2-million-barrel-a-day cut, equivalent to around 1% of global output.
OPEC is hoping to get big producers outside the cartel to cut a further 600,000 barrels a day. Russia has indicated it will take on half that burden.
The U.S. oil-rig count is typically viewed as a proxy for activity in the oil sector.
After peaking at 1,609 in October 2014, low oil prices put downward pressure on production and the rig count receded. The count has trended upward since the summer, however.
The nation's gas-rig count rose by six to 125 in the past week, according to Baker Hughes. And the U.S. offshore-rig count was unchanged at 22, which is one fewer than a year ago.
On Friday, oil prices firmed ahead of a weekend meeting of major oil-producing countries, rising 1.12% to $51.41 a barrel in recent trading on Friday.
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