Environment and Energy

US Rig Count Still Declining as Canada Stabilizes

Written by Brett Linton


According to Baker Hughes data from June 5, 2015, the U.S rig count for the week was 868 rigs exploring for or developing oil or natural gas. The last time the active U.S. count was this low was back on January 24, 2003 at 862 rigs.

This week’s total rig count is down 7 rigs when compared to last week, with oil rigs down 4 to 642 rigs, gas rigs down 3 to 222 rigs, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 4 rigs. Compared to this time last year, the 868 count is down 992 rigs, with oil rigs down by 894, gas rigs down by 98, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged.

The decline in the drilling of new gas and oil wells is having a direct impact on the amount of line pipe, storage tanks, and OCTG that is being used by the energy sector. A good portion of these products come from hot rolled coil or plate substrate, and are reasons for both the short lead times on hot rolled and plate at North American steel producers and the falling steel prices we have seen going back to mid-2014.

The situation in Canada has started to improve over the last few weeks. The Canadian rig count increased by 18 to 116 rigs this past week, with oil rigs up 15 to 59 rigs and gas rigs up 3 to 57 rigs. Compared to last year the 116 count is a decrease of 98 rigs, with oil rigs down by 63 and gas rigs down by 35. International rigs decreased by 44 to 1,158 rigs for the month of May, a decrease of 192 rigs from the same month one year ago. For a history of both the US and Canadian rig count, visit the Steel Market Update website here.

About the Rotary Rig Count

A rotary rig is one that rotates the drill pipe from the surface to either drill a new well or sidetracking an existing one. They are drilled to explore for, develop and produce oil or natural gas. The Baker Hughes Rotary Rig count includes only those rigs that are significant consumers of oilfield services and supplies.

The Baker Hughes North American Rotary Rig Count is a weekly census of the number of drilling rigs actively exploring for or developing oil or natural gas in the United States and Canada. Rigs considered active must be on location and drilling. They are considered active from the time they break ground until the time they reach their target depth.

The Baker Hughes International Rotary Rig Count is a monthly census of active drilling rigs exploring for or developing oil or natural gas outside of the United States and Canada. International rigs considered active must be drilling at least 15 days during the month. The Baker Hughes International Rotary Rig Count does not include rigs drilling in Russia or onshore China.

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