The number of drilling rigs operating in the U.S. jumped by seven this week as crude prices recovered their losses from earlier in the week. 

Drillers added six rigs in Texas and one rig in Oklahoma, raising the nation’s count to 491, according to oil-field services firm Baker Hughes and research firm Enverus. A year ago, there were 251 rigs in operation as the global pandemic slashed crude demand. 

Texas, the nation’s largest oil and natural gas producing state, drove the rebound this week as drillers added six rigs including four in the prolific Permian basin of West Texas. The state has 228 rigs in operation, up from 103 a year earlier.   

U.S. drilling activity rebounded this week as oil markets recovered from OPEC’s decision to restore production levels to pre-pandemic levels gradually over the coming year. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, was trading around $72 a barrel midday Friday. 

OPEC: Oil tumbles after OPEC ends production cuts as Delta variant spreads

“(OPEC’s) baseline expansion is a warning shot for U.S. shale producers and has created short-term downside risks to oil,” Francisco Blanch, a commodity strategist with Bank of America said in a global research report Friday. “Yet the new agreement also extends supply controls to December 2022. In a way, the new accord supports and simultaneously reduces upside (and downside) risks to global crude prices, and puts OPEC+ in the driver’s seat for oil markets over the next 18 months.”

Baker Hughes this week said it expects shale drilling in North America will grow more slowly in the second half of the year as large oil majors continue to tighten their purse-strings in an effort to satisfy shareholders and woo back investors. Many oil companies are focused on paying down debt and raising shareholder dividends instead of boosting production despite rising oil prices. 

Private exploration and production companies, which aren’t beholden to shareholders, are driving much of the rig activity in North America. However, these companies represent just 6 percent of U.S. crude production.

Baker Hughes CEO Lorenzo Simonelli on Wednesday said he estimates another 50 rigs could be added in North America by the end of the year.