US: Baker-Hughes Rig Count

Fri May 11 12:00:00 CDT 2018

Actual Previous
N. Amer. Rig Count 1124 1118
U.S. 1045 1032
Gulf of Mexico 20 19
Canada 79 86

The Baker Hughes North American rig count is up 6 rigs in the May 11 week to 1,124, as a sizable U.S. increase was partly offset by the continuing seasonal "spring thaw" decline in the Canadian count. The U.S. rig count is up 13 rigs from last week 1,045 and is up 160 rigs from last year at this time. The Canadian count is down 7 rigs from last week to 79 and is down 1 rig compared to last year.

For the U.S. count, rigs classified as drilling for oil are up 10 at 844, gas rigs are up 3 at 199, and miscellaneous rigs remain unchanged at 2. For the Canadian count, rigs classified as drilling for oil are down 5 at 32 and gas rigs are down 2 at 47.

The Baker Hughes North American rig count tracks weekly changes in the number of active operating oil & gas rigs. Used for drilling wellbores for wells that may eventually produce oil or gas, active rigs are essential for the exploration and development of oil and gas fields. Rigs that are not active are not counted. Components in the data are the United States and Canada with a separate count for the Gulf of Mexico (which is a subset of the U.S. total). The count includes only rigs that are significant users of oilfield services and supplies.

Changes in rig counts point to changes in the supply of oil & gas. The higher the rig count, the greater the upward pressure is on oil & gas supply and in turn the greater the downward pressure is on oil & gas prices. The reverse applies when rig counts turn lower, as they did during the oil price collapse of 2014-15 when lower counts contributed to a subsequent decline in domestic oil inventories. Data on the Gulf of Mexico offer indications on production disruptions during the hurricane season (June 1st to November 30th).