The Permian Basin
Out of the current 1,584 oil rigs at work, the majority, roughly 557, are in the Permian Basin. The Eagle Ford has 194 oil rigs, the Williston and Bakken have 192, and the Mississippian has 74.
The Permian Basin has the highest number of rigs in the U.S. There were 563 rigs in the Permian Basin as of September 5, 2014. Horizontal rigs account for 57% of this total, vertical rigs account for 39%, and directional rigs account for ~4%.
As of September 2, 2011, only ~17% of the rigs were horizontal. At that time, rigs in the Permian were mainly vertical, at ~78%. The share of directional rigs was ~5% at that point.
Key stocks and ETFs
Rig counts in the Permian Basin can gauge the drilling activity of upstream companies active in the Permian—like Chevron Corporation (CVX), Laredo Petroleum (LPI), EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG), and Concho Resources (CXO). Some of these companies are part of the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XLE).
Most major oilfield service companies expect U.S. onshore rig counts to increase in 2014 compared to 2013. The increase will be driven by higher activity in the Permian Basin in western Texas.
Continue reading the next part of this series to learn more about U.S. oil rig counts.