Frequently Asked Questions
Rig in North America are only counted as active if the rig is on location and drilling or ‘turning to the right’. A rig is considered active from the moment the well is “spudded” until it reaches Target Depth (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.
Rig operating outside of North America are counted on a weekly basis and deemed active if drilling activities occurred during the majority of the week. The weekly results are averaged for the month and published each month. A rig is considered drilling if it is turning to the right, in other words, the well is underway but has not reached the Target Depth (TD). Rigs that are in transit from one location to another, rigging up, or are being used for non-drilling activities including production testing, completion, and workovers are not included in the active rig count.
Based on available data since 1940 the highest weekly US rig count was 4,530 recorded on December 28, 1981. The lowest US rig count was recorded in 2016 following a steep drop in active rigs due to the oil price crash. Canada recorded the highest weekly rig count of 727 on February 3, 2006 and the lowest weekly rig count of 29 was recorded on April 24,1992.
Based on data from 1975 the highest international rig count was 1,509, which was recorded in November 1982. The lowest international rig count of 556 was recorded in August 1999.
The international rig count is a monthly census of active drilling rigs exploring for or developing oil or natural gas outside North America (U.S. and Canada). The international rig count does not include rigs drilling in North Korea, onshore China, Iran, Russia, the Caspian region, Cuba or Sudan. Due to the difficulty in obtaining data as a result of continued civil unrest Syria is currently excluded from the rig count.