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Well Servicing Rig Count Increases Slightly in April but Remains Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

Active well service rigs rose by 1.4% in April 2021 to reach 936 rigs, the highest number since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, according to data compiled by the Energy Workforce & Technology Council.

While the active well service rig count has more than doubled since a pandemic-low of 456 in April 2020, the number remains 10.5% below the February 2020 total of 1,046 rigs. In April, the sector added 10 rigs in the Rocky Mountains, seven in the ArkLaTex region, and three in the Eastern U.S.

The rig utilization rate held steady at 37% — up from pandemic-lows of 17% in April and May of 2020, though still below pre-pandemic norms of around 45%.

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 jobs report, which shows the oilfield services and equipment sector has lost approximately 88,000 jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.

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.


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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