Monthly International Drilling Activity Trends
For the month of April, the international rig count fell 49 rigs to 1,202 per Baker Hughes. This excludes the US, Canada, Russia, and China, which we estimate are home to some 2,500 additional working rigs. Year-over-year, the international rig count is down 147 units.
Following the financial crisis of 2008/2009, the international rig count declined 161 rigs, about 15%. Whether the rig count decline this time far exceeds that of 2008/2009 depends on whether the nascent oil price recovery can hold. As shown below, land activity tends to drive trends in the overall international rig count as about 75% of non-North American rigs are drilling onshore.
Of the non-NAM countries tracked by Baker Hughes, Saudi Arabia leads on size with 126 rigs, followed by India with 110, and Argentina with 107.
Driven by record high activity levels in Saudi Arabia, Middle East activity is trending higher.
With drilling activity in Brazil and Mexico falling off, Latin America drilling is trending lower.
European activity had assumed a nice growth trajectory over the past five years, with much of the growth coming from outside the traditional European oil & gas powerhouses (UK, Norway, and Netherlands). However, the oil price collapse has derailed the trend and European drilling is trending lower now.
The real driver in the Asia Pac region is offshore activity, and all things considered, that activity is holding up relatively well so far. But longer duration contracts offshore tend to create a lag effect in the drilling response to commodity price collapses.