Rig Count FAQs
What is the North American Rotary Rig Count?
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.
What is a rotary rig?
A rotary rig rotates the drill pipe from surface to drill a new well (or sidetracking an existing one) 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 and does not include cable tool rigs, very small truck mounted rigs or rigs that can operate without a permit. Non-rotary rigs may be included in the count based on how they are employed. For example, coiled tubing and workover rigs employed in drilling new wells are included in the count.
When is a rotary rig "active" ?
To be counted as active a rig must be on location and be drilling or 'turning to the right'. A rig is considered active from the moment the well is "spudded" until it reaches target depth or "TD". Rigs that are in transit from one location to another, rigging up or being used in non-drilling activities such as workovers, completions or production testing, are NOT counted as active.
When is an International rotary rig "active"?
In international areas, rigs are counted on a weekly basis and deemed active if drilling activities occurred during the majority of the week. The weekly results are averaged for the month and published each month. A rig is considered drilling if it is turning to the right (i.e. the well is underway but has not reached the target depth or T.D.). Rigs that are in transit from one location to another, rigging up, or are being used in non-drilling activities including production testing, completion, and workovers are not included in the active rig count.
How is the rotary rig count performed?
Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), field representatives maintain frequent contact with all operating rigs in their district, whether or not they are using BHGE drill bits.
What rig data is contained in the North American Rotary Rig Counts files?
North America Rotary Rig Count (Jan 2000 – Current) – a detailed Excel file with 8 tabs, as described below. Published each Friday at noon central U.S. time.
- Current Weekly Summary
- US Land & Offshore Split by State
- US Count by Basin (From February 2011 to Current Only)
- US Oil & Gas Split
- US Count by Trajectory
- Gulf of Mexico Split
- Canada Land & Offshore Split by Province
- Canada Oil & Gas Split
North America Rotary Rig Count Pivot Table (Feb 2011 – Current) – a detailed Excel file in a dynamic pivot table format which includes the data described below by week. Published each Friday at noon central U.S. time.
- Country, State, County, Basin, Drill For Type, Location, Trajectory, Well Type, Well Depth, Water Depth
Rig Count Summary – available in both Excel and PDF formats. Includes a summary of the week's North America rig count compared to the prior week and prior year. Published each Friday at noon central U.S. time.
Rigs by State - an Excel file with current and historical rig counts by State dating back to 2000. Published each Friday at noon central U.S. time.
Rigs by State - a PDF file with current month rig counts by State. Published each Friday at noon central U.S. time.
North America Rotary Rig counts through 2012 – an Excel file updated at the end of each year.
U.S. Annual Average by State 1987 - 2012 – an Excel file updated at the end of each year.
U.S. Monthly Averages by State 1987- 2012 – an Excel file updated at the end of each year.
Historical Workover Rig Data - June 2007 back through 1999 – an Excel file. BHI no longer publishes this data.
North America Rotary Rig Counts 1968 – 1999 – individual PDF files by year. These are static files. No Excel versions are available.
What rig data is contained in International Rig Counts files?
International Rig Count Spreadsheet (monthly) - an Excel file with the following current and historical data by region and country. Published the 5th business day of each month.
- Master Data Pivot (June 2012 Forward)
- 1995 - present Oil & Gas Split by Month
- 1982 - present Land and Offshore Split by Month
- Master Data
Worldwide Rig Count - available in both Excel and PDF formats. Contains rig data from 1975 - present by month. Published the 5th business day of each month.
What other information is available about the rigs?
When was the highest and lowest active rig count recorded?
What is the International Rotary Rig Count?
How is the International rotary rig count performed?
What other information is available about the International rigs?
When was the highest and lowest international rig count?
What makes the Baker Hughes Rig Count unique?
Other companies define activity differently than Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE) and their counts may include rigs that are available or contracted but not actively drilling. These counts provide a census of rigs available for work rather than those actually working.
What factors influence Baker Hughes rig counts?
Rig count trends are governed by oil company exploration and development spending, which in turn is influenced by the current and expected price of oil and natural gas. Rig counts therefore reflect the strength and stability of energy prices. However, there are many other factors at work, including:
- Minimizes the number of wells required to develop a reservoir
- Maximizes production from new and existing fields
- Increases the operational efficiency of the active drilling fleet
- Opens new frontiers for exploration (such as deepwater areas)
- Interferes with the logistics of drilling schedules.
- Seasonal weather patterns such as the Spring thaw in Canada can have a profound impact on activity, with soft, wet ground making it difficult to move rigs and set up new sites.
- Severe weather such as hurricanes can impact the rig count by forcing the evacuation of personnel from offshore platforms and delaying rig moves to new locations.
Seasonal spending patterns:
- Rig counts rise and fall with company budgeting and spending cycles
- U.S. drilling activity often declines in the first quarter as prior year drilling programs expire. Activity then rises for the rest of the year, peaking in December to fulfill drilling commitments before budgets and leaseholds expire.
- Local taxation policies
- Government sanctions
- Political unrest
- Development of new infrastructure (such as roads and pipelines)
- Availability of capital investment
What is the difference between a directional and a horizontal well?
Directional wells are typically drilled when the surface location of the well cannot be located directly above the reservoir. Offshore platforms or "pad sites" on land are the most common examples. In these cases, there are a multitude of wells that start at one location, but they all intersect the reservoir at a different spot. Directional wells can be drilled to:
- Control vertical wells
- Allow intersection by a relief well in the event of a blowout
- Provide accessibility to an otherwise inaccessible location
- Fulfill specific government regulations, such as in shoreline drilling
- Avoid collision with other wells when multiple wells exist in one platform
- Avoid or bypass an obstruction in the wellbore or formation
- Hit a specific geologic target, such as below a salt dome
A horizontal well is a type of directional well, when the inclination exceeds 80 degrees from vertical, or when the lower part of the well bore parallels the pay zone. Horizontal wells are drilled to increase the length of the well that actually contacts the reservoir, in order to increase the productivity of the well.