Market Snapshot: Global Decline in Rig Activity Led by Canada and the U.S.


Release Date: 2015-10-14

World oil and gas rig activity was relatively steady from 2012 to 2014, averaging approximately 3500 rigs in the field and reaching 3578 rigs in 2014. This fell by 32 per cent to 2439 rigs in 2015 as oil prices plunged. Most of this drop in activity came from a large drop in North American rig activity, which is down 44 per cent from 2014 levels.

Although the drop in U.S. rig activity was the most significant in absolute terms (from 1862 to 1052, or a decrease of 44 per cent), Canada was the hardest hit region in the world on a percentage basis (from 380 to 200, or a decrease of 47 per cent). This is likely because many Canadian oil and gas resources tend to be the highest cost production and their development was amongst the first to be halted as oil prices fell.

Figure Source and Description

Source: Baker Hughes

Description: This stacked cake chart shows the number of rigs drilling across the world by region from January 2012 to September 2015. It has seven layers, representing rigs in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific, Canada and the U.S. Between 2009 and 2014, rig counts were fairly stable, averaging approximately 3500 rigs in each year. The count has dropped to an annual average of 2439 so far in 2015, with the largest declines observed in Canada and the U.S.

Outside of North America, rig counts have also fallen from 2014 levels, but only by 11 per cent. The Middle East has been the only region with a relatively stable rig count, and their figure for 2015 actually exceeds their 2012 and 2013 levels.

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