In this week's news, the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for a segment of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation; the rig count rose again, marking the seventh straight month of rises; and OPEC has agreed to an oil production cut

The Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the construction of a key section of the Dakota Access Pipeline, granting a major victory to protestors who have been demonstrating for months.

The decision, made on Dec. 4, essentially halts the construction on the 1,172-mile oil pipeline just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, told NPR that after talking with tribal officials it became “clear that there’s more work to do.” The Army Corps says it intends to issue an Environmental Impact Statement with “full public input and analysis.”

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Rig Count Rise Continues

For the seventh straight month, the number of rigs seeking oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased. In data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Dec. 2, the number of working rigs increased by four to 597 last week.

The Houston-based company reports that 477 rigs were seeking oil and 119 were searching for natural gas. One rig was listed as miscellaneous. Last year, 737 rigs were active.

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Among the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas saw an increase of seven rigs, while Wyoming was up four and Oklahoma up two. Louisiana was down four rigs, while Colorado and North Dakota each declined by two. Utah was down one rig.

OPEC Agrees to Cut Oil Production

OPEC oil ministers agreed to a deal on Nov. 30 to cut oil production by 1.5 million barrels per day.

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An oversupply of oil caused prices to crash over the last two years and OPEC nations, led by Saudi Arabia, have refused to lower production until now.

Under the agreement, OPEC oil production is expected to be reduced to a range of 32.5 to 33 million bpd from 33.4 million. Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer, is expected to give up 350,000 barrels a day.

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