Commodity Blog

Apr 21 2020

Baker Hughes Rig Count and Energy Markets

Baker Hughes Rig Count and Energy Markets

What exactly are Baker Hughes’ Active Rotary Rig Counts anyway?

The Baker Hughes North American Rotary Rig Count is a weekly census of the number of drilling rigs that are actively exploring or developing oil or natural gas in the U.S. and Canada, making these counts very important to the petroleum industry. Baker Hughes has been issuing the active rotary rig counts since 1944 when the Baker Hughes Tool Company began weekly counts of U.S. and Canadian drilling activity.

The Baker Hughes International Rotary Rig Count is a monthly census of active drilling rigs exploring for developing oil or natural gas around the globe. Baker Hughes initiated the monthly international rig count in 1975 that covers the major oil-producing region around the world.

Baker Hughes Rig Counts are published by major newspapers and trade publications, are referred to frequently by journalists, economists, security analysts and government officials, and are included in many industry statistical reports. Because they have been compiled consistently for 70 years, Baker Hughes Rig Counts also are useful in historical analysis of the industry - particularly alongside historical futures data and cash crude oil prices.

What is a rotary rig?

A rotary rig rotates the drill pipe from the surface to drill a new well (or sidetracking an existing one) to explore for, develop, and produce oil or natural gas. The Baker Hughes Rotary Rig count includes only those rigs that are significant consumers of oilfield services and supplies and does not include cable tool rigs, very small truck mounted rigs or rigs that can operate without a permit. Non-rotary rigs may be included in the count based on how they are employed. For example, coiled tubing and workover rigs employed in drilling new wells are included in the count.

When is a rotary rig “active”?

To be counted as active, a rig must be on location and be drilling, or ‘turning to the right’. A rig is considered active from the moment the well is “spudded” until it reaches target depth or “TD”. Rigs that are in transit from one location to another, rigging up, or being used in non-drilling activities such as workovers, completions, or production testing, are not counted as active.

How is the rotary rig count performed?

Baker Hughes’ field representatives maintain frequent contact with all operating rigs in their district. This close contact with the customer enables the company to track the number of active rigs in each area. Regional offices throughout North America and the globe gather rig activity information and release the information in the respective reports.

What’s the granularity of the information available about the Active Rigs?

The International Baker Hughes Rig Count data is broken down into major oil-producing regions of the world. The North American Rig Counts are available for all the oil-producing states, provinces, and basins. These reports also provide information by further distinguishing the active rigs by land and offshore split, oil and gas split, and by the trajectory.

How is the Baker Hughes data used by energy professionals?

The Baker Hughes Active Rig Count is a leading indicator of the willingness of oil and gas companies to keep investing; it also anticipates demand for products used in the oil service industry, such as drilling, producing, and processing hydrocarbons. The changes in rig counts also point to changes in the supply of oil and gas. With a 70-year history of active rig counts, Baker Hughes rig counts are reliable for historical analysis and have been a business barometer for the oil and gas industry.

How can I get the Baker Huges data?

Baker Hughes Data data is available through Barchart’s cmdty line of products. Get the latest active rotary rig count delivered to your excel spreadsheet via cmdtyView Excel to create bespoke analyses. Never miss new Baker Hughes or any other major releases with our Economic Calendar built right into the cmdtyView Pro software.

What other energy data is available via cmdty?

In addition to the Baker Hughes’ Active Rotary Rig Counts, physical pricing, global exchange futures data, and commodity fundamental data for the entire energy market is made available in one place, cmdtyView by Barchart, to help you make decisions faster. Barchart’s extensive data and the customizable delivery capabilities allow you to scale your workflows, build bespoke seasonal analysis, or develop products to make better decisions.

Where can I learn more?

Please contact us at to learn more about Baker Hughes Active Rig counts or anything related to data and solutions for energy markets.

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