CHICAGO, March 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com Analyst Blog features: Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI), Transocean Inc. (NYSE: RIG), Diamond Offshore (NYSE: DO), Pride International (NYSE: PDE) and Patterson-UTI Energy (Nasdaq: PTEN).
Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=4579
Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:
U.S. Rig Count Dips Below 1,700
In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) reported a fall in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and gas in the country), primarily reflecting a decrease in the number of land rigs.
The Baker Hughes rig count, issued since 1944, acts as an important yardstick for drilling contractors such as Transocean Inc. (NYSE: RIG), Diamond Offshore (NYSE: DO), Pride International (NYSE: PDE) and Patterson-UTI Energy (Nasdaq: PTEN) in gauging the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.
Rigs engaged in exploration and production in the U.S. totaled 1,699 for the week ended February 25, 2011. This is down by 14 from the previous week's rig count and represents the third decline in as many weeks.
Despite this, the current nationwide rig count is 94% higher than the 2009 low of 876 (set in the week ended June 12, 2009) and significantly exceeds the prior-year level of 1,373. It rose to a 22-year high in 2008, peaking to 2,031 in the weeks ending August 29 and September 12.
Rigs engaged in land operations descended by 14 rigs to 1,658, while offshore drilling and inland waters activity remained steady at 25 and 16, respectively.
Natural Gas Rig Count
The natural gas rig count increased for the first time in four weeks to 906 (a gain of 1 rig from the previous week). Despite the modest weekly improvement, the number of gas-directed rigs are down approximately 9% from the 18-month high reached during mid-August, 2010, when it hit 992, the highest since February 2009.
The current natural gas rig count remains 44% below its peak of 1,606 in late summer 2008 but has rebounded strongly after bottoming out to a 7-year low of 665 on July 17, 2009. In the year-ago period, there were 905 active natural gas rigs.
Oil Rig Count
The oil rig count was down by 15 to 783, the third decline in 8 weeks. Despite this week-over-week fall, the current tally is considerably more than the previous year's rig count of 456. It has recovered strongly from a low of 179 in June 2009, rising almost 4.5 times.
Miscellaneous Rig Count
The miscellaneous rig count (primarily drilling for geothermal energy) at 10 remained unchanged from the previous week.
Rig Count by Type
The number of vertical drilling rigs fell by 8 to 498, while the horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling technology that has the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock formations, also known as shale formations) was down by 6 to 1,201.
Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5514.
About Zacks Equity Research
Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.
Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.
Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5516
Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PhD in mathematics Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=4580.
Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ZacksResearch
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZacksInvestmentResearch
Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.
Web Content Editor
SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.