Baker Hughes has issued rig counts as a service to the petroleum industry since 1944, when Hughes Tool Company began weekly counts of U.S. and Canadian drilling activity. Hughes initiated the monthly international rig count in 1975. The North American rig count is released weekly at noon central time on the last day of the work week. The international rig count is released on the fifth working day of each month.
The Baker Hughes Rig Counts are an important business barometer for the drilling industry and its suppliers. When drilling rigs are active they consume products and services produced by the oil service industry. The active rig count acts as a leading indicator of demand for products used in drilling, completing, producing and processing hydrocarbons.
The latest numbers show the following
- US – 508 rigs at 9th September 2016, down 340 on a year ago
- Canada – 134 rigs at 9th September 2016, down 51 on a year ago
- International – 937 rigs in August 2016, down 200 on a year earlier.
These numbers show an combined count of 1579, down 591 on 12 months earlier – a drop of 27.2%. Looking at the same three areas separately, the US is down 40.0%, Canada down 27.6% and International down 17.6%. The numbers are looking only at rigs, and obviously exclude onshore oil exploration and production. Aside from onshore work in really remote areas of the globe, rig count must be an indicator of offshore helicopter activity too. The offshore helicopter industry continues to be in a significant downward trend.
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