Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens boosted the value of his energy holdings by more than a third in the second quarter, just as the U.S. oil rig count was bottoming out from the worst crude-market crash in a generation.

Energy stocks held by Dallas-based BP Capital Fund Advisors LLC rose by $55 million, or 34%, to $218 million in the second quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. BP Capital added stakes in a total of 8 companies, including more than a handful of pipeline companies, such as Williams Partners LP, Plains All American Pipeline LP and Enbridge Energy Partners LP. He exited positions in a dozen other energy companies, including the world’s largest oil-services provider, Schlumberger Ltd.

At the end of May, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. hit the lowest mark since the crude market began tumbling two years ago. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark oil, is still down by more than half since closing at a high of $107.26/bbl in June 2014.

Executives at Schlumberger and Halliburton Co. have declared on earnings calls in recent weeks that the worst may be over for the downturn. Plains followed in the footsteps of other pipeline peers by announcing last month plans to simplify its partnership structure.

In early February, Pickens said in an interview on “Bloomberg Go” that he had sold all his oil holdings and was waiting for the best moment to get back in.

“The low is in,” he said in a Feb. 4 interview. “Just don’t get in a rush here. You’re going to have plenty of opportunity. The market is going to be volatile. it’s not going to go straight up, so there will be good entry points.”

DALLAS (Bloomberg)

By DAVID WETHE on 8/15/2016