Environment and Energy

US Gas & Oil Rigs Stop Dropping (at least for one week)

Written by Brett Linton


According to Baker Hughes data from July 10, 2015, the U.S rig count for the week was 863 rigs exploring for or developing oil or natural gas. This is up 1 rig when compared to last week, with oil rigs up 5 to 645 rigs, gas rigs down 2 to 217 rigs, and miscellaneous rigs down 2 to 1 rig. Compared to this time last year, the 863 count is down 1,012 rigs, with oil rigs down 918, gas rigs down 94, 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 had seen going back to mid-2014. Prices have since stabilized for hot rolled coil but the product is having a difficult time breaking out of a very narrow trading range partially due to the weakness in the energy sector.

The situation in Canada has started to improve over the last few weeks. The Canadian rig count increased by 30 to 169 rigs this past week, with oil rigs up 19 to 91 rigs and gas rigs up 11 to 78 rigs. Compared to last year the 169 count is a decrease of 146 rigs, with oil rigs down 87 and gas rigs down 59. International rigs decreased by 12 to 1,146 rigs for the month of June, a decrease of 198 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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