In this week's news, Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources says it is restarting its thermal oilsands project that was suspended in early 2015; and the U.S. rig count climbed up by 12 last week to 569.

Canadian Natural Resources is restarting a thermal oilsands project it suspended nearly two years ago, counting on lower costs to shave $100 million from the original $1.45 billion price tag.

The Calgary-based company said Nov. 3 that it will move ahead with the half-built 40,000 barrels per day Kirby North project, starting with a $28 million engineering and procurement budget in 2017 that will focus on finding construction cost savings.

The project is the first new facility in the oilsands industry to be officially sanctioned since crude prices fell below $100 per barrel in mid-2014 and was approved despite oil prices that have changed little since it was put on the shelf in January 2015.

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Rig Count Rises by 12

The number of rigs seeking oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 12 to 569 last week in data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Nov. 4.

The Houston-based company says the number of rigs seeking oil climbed from 441 to 450 last week, while natural gas rigs went from 114 to 117. Two rigs were listed as miscellaneous.

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A year ago, 771 rigs were active.

Among the major oil and gas producing states, Texas climbed by six rigs, while Oklahoma was up three. Louisiana and North Dakota went up by two rigs each and Colorado was up one. The only state to lose was Alaska, dropping one rig.

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