U.S. Drilling Rig Count Dwarfs Other Nations

Drilling Rig Counts Help US Compare Level Of Drilling Activity Across The Globe

North American Rig Count Up
North American Rig Count Up

Baker Hughes, a massive oil services company based out of Houston, Texas, released the latest domestic and international drilling rig count during their mid-September informational release. The release showed that active US drilling rig counts are up slightly over the August 2013 report, yet are down approximately 5% annually when compared to the August 2012 figures.

The overall drilling rig count is substantially higher than it was just five years ago, when the approximate rig count hovered around the 1,000 mark. As of the last domestic report, there are 1,766 active drilling rigs across the nation. This marks a tremendous increase in drilling activity among US oil and gas companies, and is commensurate with the increased production levels we’ve seen over the past five years. In fact, with oil production currently sitting at 7.5 million barrels per day, this represents a 50% increase in domestic production over the past five years. That is a tremendous increase, and lines up with the additional drilling rigs in active service since 2008 as well.


Comparing US Oil Drilling Activity To The World’s Focus On Drilling


As of September 2013, the current, worldwide active oil drilling rig count is 3,362. The United States accounts for 1,766 of these rigs, and Canada represents 291. This means that the total North American count for active oil drilling rigs is 2057, or 61% of the total rigs in worldwide service. This is an incredible figure to consider, as the investment in oil and gas extraction is certainly a domestic priority. The Middle East accounts for approximately 11% of the total drilling rigs across the globe, yet they produce about 27.7% of the world supply of oil. This points to the richness of the Middle Eastern oilfields and the fact that the US needs a significant number of drilling rigs to ensure adequate output.

Most of the additional domestic drilling rig installations over the past five years are in response to adoption of technologies that are better suited to accessing oil in shale formations, and other non-traditional areas. This has allowed the US to increase domestic production to levels that haven’t been seen in twenty years or more. This may allow the US to move toward energy independence – a feat that hasn’t been seen since the turn of the century. Though we may see geopolitical ramifications that stem from a shift in international oil and gas trading, the benefits of increased domestic production cannot be ignored.