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August Rig Count Sees Another Increase

Active well service rigs rose by 2% in August 2021 to reach 993 rigs, the highest total since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, according to data collected by the Energy Workforce & Technology Council.

The active well service rig count has more than doubled since a pandemic-low of 456 in April 2020, but the number remains 5.2% below the February 2020 total of 1,046 rigs. In July, the sector added 12 rigs in the Gulf Coast, two in Arklatex, 22 in Mid-Continent and five in the Rocky Mountains.

The monthly rig count, first published in 1970, is compiled from data submitted by oil and gas production and servicing companies throughout North America. Followed closely by well servicing contractors, government agencies, financial institutions, and market analysts, the report is a key indicator of oil and gas production.

Its findings echo those of the Council’s monthly, which shows the energy services and technology sector has lost approximately 67,200 jobs since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the Council’s most recent employment report, the sector added approximately 1,913 jobs (0.6%) in September.

The rig count report includes four status categories for rigs:

  • Active — Crewed and worked every day during the month.
  • Available — A rig that has a crew and is ready to work but is not working.
  • Idle — A rig that’s available for work in less than 48 hours, does not require spending of more than $50,000 to activate, and does not have a crew currently assigned.
  • Stacked — A rig that does not have a crew assigned and could not be put to work without repairs and additional equipment costing more than $50,000.

To participate in the rig count, contact Council Administrative Assistant Susan Dudley for more information.


Kevin Broom, Director Communications and Research, writes about the Council’s sector-specific best practices and leadership. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.
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