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The collapse of oil prices in 2014 trickled through to the rotary rigs, forcing a similar downward fall in the number of active oil and gas drilling rigs worldwide as producers acclimated to a new environment in which prices were below the marginal production cost in many oil-producing countries. In several US states the quantity of oil rigs, which strongly increased during the shale boom in 2009-2014, quickly reached historically low levels.
As the history shows, the decrease in rig count may last for a long time in case of low oil prices. During six years from 2008 to 2014 the number of rigs for natural gas production has decreased 5 times (from 1600+ in Sep 2008 to 340 currently, check the graph at the bottom of the page).
Sources: Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count, 2015 , North America Rotary Rig Count (Jan 2000 - Current) , World Bank Commodity Price Data (Pink Sheet), January 2015 , Oil Statistics (Production Costs, Breakeven Price)
For further information about rotary rig stats, please visit The Baker Hughes Rig Count FAQ page
The Energy Data Brief offers key statistics designed to help energy market watchers anticipate and respond to developments in the energy sector as well as changes in related industries and investments.