Baker Hughes Global Rig Count Shows Tiny Rise, U.S. Count Continues to Drop

Last Updated Jul 8, 2009 2:57 PM EDT

The number of active drilling rigs worldwide in June 2009 was 39 percent lower than the same month last year, according to Houston, Texas-based Baker Hughes, an oil and gas equipment services company. There were a few glimmers of recovery in the company's monthly international report, which shows rig counts bottoming out in May 2009 and rising slightly in June.

Baker Hughes announced Wednesday in its report, the number of rigs actively exploring for or producing oil or natural gas in June 2009 was 1,987, down 39 percent from 3,269 rigs in June 2008.

The number of rigs worldwide has suffered from a freefall since oil prices plummeted, demand weakened and a global credit crisis caused companies to slow down exploration and development projects.

Worldwide rig counts peaked in September 2008 at 3,557 before steadily falling through May 2009. June was the first month in nearly a year to show a slight increase in worldwide rig counts. The worldwide rig count edged up four from 1,983 in May 2009.

Canada and the U.S. have experienced some of the largest drops in active drilling rigs in the past year. The number of rigs in Canada fell 53 percent from 266 in June 2008 to 125 in June 2009. The numbers have rebounded since May 2009 when rigs in Canada bottomed out at 72.

The U.S. rig count has risen in the past three weeks, however its month-to-month numbers still show a decline. In June 2009, the rig count was 895, down 23 from 918 in May 2009. The U.S. rig count has dropped 53 percent from 1,901 in June 2008.