What: Shares of RigNet (NASDAQ:RNET) rallied on Wednesday, closing up more than 12%. It did so with no company-specific news as its catalyst. Instead, it rode the rally in crude, which was up nearly 7% on Wednesday.

So what: Oil spiked nearly $3 per barrel after U.S. government data showed that the build in crude supplies wasn't as high as expected, while distillate supplies fell more than expected. This would suggest that the supply-and-demand imbalance in the oil market could be shrinking -- though we've seen this story a time or two before.

Having said that, higher oil prices are the key to a rebound in oil-field activity, which would benefit RigNet. It's that potential promise of higher activity that's the real catalyst behind today's rally.

Now what: Because it lives and dies with oil-field activity, RigNet's stock price will more often than not move along with crude prices. That said, the company does have a potential news-driven catalyst of its own on the horizon, being on deck to report earnings on Nov. 9 after markets close. That report will give investors a real glimpse into how the company is actually performing during the downturn, as well as its outlook for the future.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.