The U.S. natural gas rig count rose two units to 106 for the week ended Thursday (Dec. 23), while the oil patch extended its prolonged uptrend, according to the latest numbers from oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Co. (BKR).

Including a five-rig increase in the domestic oil count, the combined U.S. rig count surged seven units higher to finish at 586, outpacing the year-earlier total by 238 units.

Land drilling increased by seven, while the Gulf of Mexico held flat at 15 rigs for the period, down from 17 a year ago. Seven horizontal units were added, along with one vertical rig. Partially offsetting was a decline of one directional unit, according to the BKR numbers, which are partly based on data from Enverus.

The Canadian rig count pulled back sharply for the...