Rig Census
Contact NOV
You are here: NOV.com > Rig Census
2013 NOV Rig Census
Related Information

North American rig fleet gains while activity level drops

In the U.S. and Canada, additions to fleets increased availability, while activity decreased. The global offshore mobile fleet posted another modest gain, with 42 newbuilds entering service in the last year.

The U.S. rig fleet experienced a year of turnarounds in 2013. According to the 60th annual NOV Rig Census, the U.S. available fleet made a U-turn, when it climbed this year after shrinking during 2012. Activity levels also went in the opposite direction; this time, however, falling back to the level seen two years ago. When rig counts were examined for the census in the early summer this year, commodity prices had not risen enough to maintain the drilling momentum experienced in the U.S. during 2012. The gap between available and active rigs widened this year, pushing down rig utilization for 2013 and showing a weakening market.

The Canadian drilling environment told a similar tale, with rig availability strengthening, while rig activity weakened. A notable number of newly manufactured rigs helped boost Canada’s available count in 2013. However, activity during this time period was significantly lower than last year. Persistently low natural gas prices may have influenced Canadian drilling to an even greater extent.

The global offshore mobile fleet was one bright spot, showing impressive gains, again, in 2013. Even more brand new offshore units entered the worldwide fleet over the past year, and these rigs are being put to work robustly. Utilization for the global offshore mobile fleet continues to tighten.


Key statistics from the 2013 census include the following:

  • The U.S. fleet had an overall increase of 49 rigs, causing the total available count to rise about 2%, to 3,055. This net increase is the result of 256 rig additions and 207 rig deletions, Fig. 1.
  • The number of U.S. rigs retiring, and the number of newly manufactured rigs, both fell in 2013, with rigs removed from service numbering 182 and brand new units totaling 147.
  • U.S. rigs meeting the census definition of “active” fell to 2,055, down about 9%.
  • Utilization of the U.S. fleet (combined land and offshore) dropped to 67% from 75% a year ago, Fig. 2.
  • The total number of U.S. rig owners dropped to 313, down from 317 in 2012.
  • Drilling contractors own 86% of all U.S. drilling rigs, a 1% increase this year, with operators owning the remaining 14%.
  • The Canadian available rig fleet rose to 777 units, up 4% from last year.
  • Canadian rig activity declined 12%, with active rigs numbering 289.
  • Canadian utilization is down to 37%, compared with 44% in 2012.
  • The global offshore mobile fleet’s available count came in at 850, after growing 3% in 2013.
  • Global, offshore mobile activity was up 11%, with active rigs at 697 units.
  • Utilization of the global offshore mobile fleet is now up to 82%, after reaching 76% last year.
  • Most international regions showed declines in utilization this year, with the overall average being 85%.



To learn more about the 2013 NOV Rig Census please download the article here .