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Oil & Gas Drillers Add Highest Rig in US Since 2020 Begining

Zacks Equity Research
·4-min read

In its weekly release, Baker Hughes Company BKR reported an increase in the U.S. rig count.

More on the Rig Count

The company’s data, issued at the end of every week since 1944, helps energy service providers gauge the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.

A change in the Houston-based oilfield service player’s rotary rig count affects the demand for energy services like drilling, completion and production, provided by the likes of Halliburton Company HAL, Schlumberger Limited SLB and Transocean Ltd. RIG.


Total US Rig Count Increases: The count of rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States was 282 in the week through Oct 16 versus the prior-week count of 269. Thus, since January, the tally has risen the most. This is because drillers have been adding rigs as the price of crude has recovered partially with the commodity price hovering around $40 per barrel. Notably, the count increased for five successive weeks. The current national rig count is, however, below the year-ago level’s 851.

The number of onshore rigs in the week ending Oct 16 totaled 267, higher than the prior-week count of 254. Notably, the count of rigs operating in the inland waters was one, the same as the prior-week figure. Moreover, in the offshore resources, 14 rigs were operating, flat with the prior-week count.

US Adds 12 Oil Rigs: Oil rig count was 205 in the week through Oct 16 compared with 193 in the week ended Oct 9. Importantly, since January, the count has increased the most. Investors should also note that the current count of oil rigs, far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014, is, however, below the year-ago figure of 713.

Natural Gas Rig Count Rises in US: The natural gas rig count of 74 was higher than the prior-week count of 73. But, the count of rigs exploring the commodity was lower than the prior-year week’s 137. Importantly, per the latest report, the tally of natural gas-directed rigs is 95.4% below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs totaled 21 units, higher than the prior-week count of 15. Moreover, the horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling technology with the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock formations, also known as shale formations) of 261 was higher than the prior-week level of 254.

Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Rig Count Flat: The GoM rig count is 14 units, of which all were oil-directed. The count was in line with the prior-week count.

Rig Count in Prolific Basins

Eagle Ford, among the prolific basins in the United States, saw its weekly oil rig figure of 15, higher than the prior-week count of 12. Oil drillers in the Permian — the most prolific basin in the United States — hadn’t added any rigs in the week through Oct 16.


With oil prices recovering rapidly —the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude has improved more than 253% since late April —as economies are reopening, most analysts opine that drillers will continue to add rigs.

Meanwhile, investors may keep an eye on two energy stocks, which are expected to benefit if the oil price rally sustains —Devon Energy Corporation DVN and Pioneer Natural Resources Company PXD. Both stocks carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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Transocean Ltd. (RIG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Schlumberger Limited (SLB) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Halliburton Company (HAL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Pioneer Natural Resources Company (PXD) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Devon Energy Corporation (DVN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Baker Hughes Company (BKR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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