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What: Shares of RigNet (NASDAQ:RNET) were up more than 10% by 2:45 p.m. EST on Thursday. There was no company-specific news fueling today's rally; instead, RigNet's stock participated in the oil price relief rally.

So what: The price of crude rose 4.2% today, and closed just a shade more than $29.50 a barrel. It's really anyone's guess why crude rallied today, especially after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported another 4 million barrel rise in oil inventories. Not only was that well above the 2.9 million barrel consensus increase, but inventories remain at levels not seen in at least the last 80 years.

If nothing else, today's rally could really boil down to short covering by the market given that both the price of crude, and RigNet's stock, are down sharply since the start of the year:

RNET Chart

RNET data by YCharts.

Investors seeing that the easy money is gone could now be taking some profits on those shorts, which would lead to a whole lot of buying.

Now what: Despite today's respite, oil needs to go a lot higher before the oil industry will start putting rigs back to work -- which is what will drive improved financial results from RigNet. It could be a bumpy ride for investors until that day finally arrives.

Matt DiLallo owns shares of RigNet. The Motley Fool recommends RigNet. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.