Drilling rig counts climb worldwide

By Phaedra Friend Troy

According to the regular report from Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), the number of onshore and offshore drilling rigs increased across the board during the month of July.

The number of international land rigs increased by 10 to 1,109 in July 2010. This is a marked increase of 135 rigs year over year.

Additionally, the number of offshore drilling rigs contracted internationally jumped by 11 in July 2010 to 798 rigs. Representing a year-over-year increase of 97 rigs, the number of offshore rigs working in July 2009 was only 701.

Domestically, the number of land rigs working in the US increased by 42 to 1,573 in the month of July 2010. Year over year, this is an increase of 642 drilling rigs since July 2009, most likely spurred by ramped up drilling in the shale plays across the US.

The number of land rigs working in Canada increased in the month of July, as well. Up 121 rigs from the previous month, there were 350 land rigs working in Canada in July 2010. This is a boost of 175 rigs year over year.

Exploration, development and production have been boosted worldwide by the stabilization of the price of crude oil. Just this week, the price of oil on the NYMEX rose for the first time in months above $80 a barrel.

The Baker Hughes report did not break out the number of offshore rigs working in the US Gulf of Mexico. Most likely down because of the deepwater drilling moratorium and stifled drilling permits in deepwaters and shallow waters alike, a number of producers have declared force majeures on drilling rigs that were slated to work in the US Gulf.

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