Back to top

Analyst Blog

This page is temporarily not available.  Please check later as it should be available shortly. If you have any questions, please email customer support at support@zacks.com or call 800-767-3771 ext.  9339.

In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI - Analyst Report) reported a dip in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and gas in the country).

This can be attributed to cutbacks in the tally of gas-directed rigs, partially offset by increase in oil rig count. In particular, the natural gas rig count dropped for the eighth time in 9 weeks to touch another near 13-year low., while oil drilling jumped to a new 25-year high.

The Baker Hughes rig count, issued since 1944, acts as an important yardstick for drilling contractors such as Transocean Inc. (RIG - Analyst Report), Diamond Offshore (DO - Analyst Report), Noble Corp. (NE - Analyst Report), Nabors Industries (NBR - Analyst Report), Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN - Analyst Report), Helmerich & Payne (HP - Analyst Report), etc. in gauging the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.

Analysis of the Data

Weekly Summary: Rigs engaged in exploration and production in the U.S. totaled 1,966 for the week ended June 22, 2012. This was down by 5 from the previous week’s count and represents the fourth decrease in the past 5 weeks.

Despite this, the current nationwide rig count is more than double that of the 6-year low of 876 (in the week ended June 12, 2009) and comfortably exceeds the prior-year level of 1,882. It rose to a 22-year high in 2008, peaking at 2,031 in the weeks ending August 29 and September 12.

Rigs engaged in land operations inched up by 1 to 1,900, while inland waters activity and offshore drilling were down by 3 each at 18 and 48 units, respectively

Natural Gas Rig Count: The natural gas rig count decreased for the eighth time in 9 weeks to 541 (a drop of 21 rigs from the previous week). As per the most recent report, the number of gas-directed rigs is at their lowest level since August 20, 1999 and is down more than 42% from its 2011 peak of 936, reached during mid-October.

The current natural gas rig count remains 66% below its all-time high of 1,606 reached in late summer 2008. In the year-ago period, there were 873 active natural gas rigs.

Oil Rig Count: The oil rig count was up by 16 to 1,421. The current tally – the highest since Baker Hughes started breaking up oil and natural gas rig counts in 1987 – is way above the previous year’s rig count of 1,003. It has recovered strongly from a low of 179 in June 2009, rising by nearly 8 times.

Miscellaneous Rig Count: The miscellaneous rig count (primarily drilling for geothermal energy) at 4 remained unchanged from the previous week.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs fell by 8 to 568, while the horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling technology that has the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock formations, also known as shale formations) was up by 3 at 1,398. In particular, horizontal rig units – that reached an all-time high of 1,193 in May this year – increased by 3 from last week’s level to 1,165.

Please login to Zacks.com or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research

Close

Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to Zacks.com?

Top Zacks Features

Learn more

Start for as little as $4.50 per trade.

My Portfolio Tracker

Is it Time to Sell?

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Zacks.com. Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts.

More Zacks Resources

Zacks Rank Home - Evaluate your stocks and use the Zacks Rank to eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Mutual Fund Rank Home - Evaluate your funds with the Mutual Fund Rank for both your personal and retirement funds.

Stock/Mutual Fund Screening - Find better stocks and mutual funds. The ones most likely to beat the market and provide a positive return.

My Portfolio - Track your Portfolio and find out where your stocks/mutual funds stack up with the Zacks Rank.

Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
DIXIE GRP IN DXYN 15.84 +7.90%
BOFI HLDG IN BOFI 85.30 +4.97%
RAMBUS INC RMBS 12.31 +4.41%
VIPSHOP HOLD VIPS 148.73 +4.35%
NETFLIX INC NFLX 345.74 +4.32%