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US Onshore Rigs Rose Last Week: Is It the Bottom?

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Onshore rig count

During the week ending June 26, 2015, the US land-based, or onshore, rig count rose by one from the previous week’s count. Last week, there were 831 land-based rigs, including seven inland water rigs. The inland water rig count rose by two. Before last week, onshore rigs had registered their first rise in the week to May 22. They had fallen for 25 consecutive weeks. Last week, four states lost onshore rigs, while five others added onshore rigs.

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Most prolific states

In the 12 months ending June 19, 2015, the land-based US rig count fell by 987. The number of active land-based rigs fell the most in Texas—525 rigs shut down. North Dakota lost 97 rigs over those 12 months. Despite losing a significant number of rigs in the past year, Texas still has the most land-based rigs in the US with 361, or 43%, of the total. Oklahoma is next with 105 land-based rigs and North Dakota follows with 74.

Onshore rig count records

The onshore rig count hit a record high of 1,992 on November 4, 2011—the highest number of rigs in operation since January 1990, according to Baker Hughes. Then, the onshore rig count reached 1,876 in the week ending November 21, 2014. A total of 1,045 onshore rigs have gone offline since then—a fall of ~56%.

Effect on energy companies

Onshore rigs in operation mainly reflect the US shale boom. Apart from oil and gas-producing companies, the rising rig count will positively impact OFS (oilfield service) companies. OFS companies provide various drilling-related services and technologies. These include RPC (RES), Oil States International (OIS), Cameron International (CAM), and National Oilwell Varco (NOV). Combined, these companies form 11% of the VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH).

Rising rigs could eventually benefit midstream MLPs (master limited partnerships) like Targa Resources Partners (NGLS), Sunoco Logistics Partners (SXL), Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (BWP), and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) in the long term.

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