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Fears that higher oil prices may prompt energy groups to ramp up the pace of drilling gained credence on Friday after data showed the number of US oil rigs rose for the third week in a row.

The tally of US oil rigs climbed by 9 this week to 337, the highest since late April, according to data from Baker Hughes.

The report suggests American producers may have grown more bullish as the price of oil has surged by more than 80 per cent since mid-February.

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