Baker Hughes has issued the rotary rig counts as a service to the petroleum industry since 1944, when Baker Hughes Tool Company began weekly counts of U.S. and Canadian drilling activity. Baker Hughes initiated the monthly international rig count in 1975. The North American rig count is released weekly and the international rig count monthly. Baker Hughes only counts rigs that are actually drilling.
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, including the services of helicopter operators. The active rig count acts as a leading indicator of demand for products used in drilling, completing, producing and processing hydrocarbons.