In this week's news, the governor of North Dakota has ordered protesters camped on federal property to leave by Dec. 5; the rig count rose by five last week to 593; and OPEC is trying to rescue a deal to limit oil output

North Dakota’s governor ordered the expulsion of protesters camped on federal property near the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline project they oppose, saying the “emergency evacuation” was necessary to protect them from harsh winter conditions.

The executive order from Gov. Jack Dalrymaple, issued Nov. 28, came two days after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it would close public access to the main protest encampment, about 30 miles south of Bismark, setting a Dec. 5 deadline for demonstrators to leave the area.

Demonstrators have protested for months against plans to run the oil pipeline beneath Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying it poses a threat to water resources and to sacred Native American sites.

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Rig Count Rises Slightly to 593

The number of rigs seeking oil and natural gas rose by five to 593 last week, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Nov. 23.

The Houston-based company says 474 rigs were seeking oil, up from 471 the previous week, and 118 were searching for natural gas, an increase of two from the week prior. One rig was listed miscellaneous. Last year 744 rigs were active.

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Among the major oil- and gas-producing states, Pennsylvania was up four rigs, while Texas climbed by three and Colorado was up two. Wyoming was down three rigs as New Mexico was down two and North Dakota declined by one.

OPEC Trying to Bring Back Deal to Limit Oil Output

OPEC was trying on Nov. 28 to rescue a deal to limit oil output as tensions grew among the producer group and non-OPEC member Russia, with top exporter Saudi Arabia saying markets would rebalance even without an agreement.

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OPEC experts started a meeting in Vienna and were due to make recommendations to their ministers on how exactly the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries should reduce production when it meets on Nov. 30.

Meanwhile, the Algerian and Venezuelan oil ministers traveled to Moscow in a final attempt to persuade Russia to take part in cuts instead of merely freezing output, which has reached new highs in the past year.

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