uploads///US Total Rigs

Must-know: Why the US total rig count increased last week

Alex Chamberlin - Author

Dec. 4 2020, Updated 10:43 a.m. ET

U.S. total rig count increases by six

The U.S. total drilling rig count increased by six rigs, from 1,883 to 1,889, during the week ending August 1 according to Baker Hughes, which publishes rig counts every week.

The number of oil rigs increased by 11, while the number of natural gas rigs decreased by five. Rigs that were categorized as “miscellaneous” were unchanged during the last week.

The increase in rig count was led by increases in both horizontal and vertical rig drilling. See Part 3 of this series to learn more about vertical versus horizontal rigs.

Year-to-date (or YTD), the total U.S. rig count has increased by 138, or 8%. Oil rigs have increased by 195, or 14%, while natural gas rigs have decreased by 44, or -12%.

Rig count trends show how much inclination companies have to spend on drilling

Rig counts represent how many rigs are actively drilling for hydrocarbons—oil and gas. Baker Hughes notes that rig count trends are “governed by oil company exploration and development spending, which is influenced by the current and expected price of oil and natural gas.”

Rig counts can represent how confident oil and gas producers like Anadarko Petroleum (APC) and Chesapeake Energy (CHK) feel about the drilling environment.

Since rig counts show one measure of oil and gas drilling activity, the figure can also be a useful indicator to gauge the activity levels of oilfield service companies such as Halliburton (HAL) and Schlumberger (SLB)—all of which are part of the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE).

Continue reading the next sections in this series to learn more about the various types of rig counts, what they mean, and why they should matter to investors.

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