Environment and Energy

Continued Decline in Active Gas & Oil Rig Counts

Written by Brett Linton


Active U.S. and Canadian drill rigs continued to decline this past week, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes. The active drill rigs count is important to the steel industry because it is a leading indicator of oil country tubular goods demand.

The number of active U.S. rigs fell by 73 to 529, with oil rigs down 66, gas rigs down 7, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged. Compared to this time last year, the 529 count is down 483 rigs, with oil rigs down 387, gas rigs down 98, and miscellaneous rigs up 2. See the first graph below for a history of active U.S. rig counts.

The Canadian rig count decreased by 5 last week to 30 rigs, with oil rigs up 1 and gas rigs down 6. Compared to last year, the count is down 36 rigs, with oil rigs down 12 and gas rigs down 24. See the second graph below for a history of active Canadian rig counts.

International rigs decreased by 26 to 1,059 rigs for the month of March, an increase of 20 rigs from the same month one year ago. For a history of both the U.S. and Canadian rig count, visit the Rig Count page on 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 sidetrack 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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