Onshore contract driller
Patterson-UTI Energy Inc.
) declared that its Dec 2013 drill rig count increased by two
from Nov 2013 to average 196. The company operated 187 rigs in
the U.S. and 9 in Canada in December.
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Patterson-UTI reveals that for the three months ending Dec 31,
the rig count of the company averaged 183 in the U.S. and 9 in
Patterson-UTI's activity levels in the U.S. peaked in early Oct
2008, with a rig count of 275. Since then, and through the second
quarter of 2009, the company witnessed a steep and rapid decline
in rig count owing to decreased demand, largely caused by lower
natural gas prices.
However, natural gas prices have recovered significantly from
their multi-year lows amid signs of economic stabilization.
Moreover, as the weather becomes cooler, natural gas demand is
expected to increase, which would help set an increasing price
trend in the coming quarters.
Houston, Texas-based Patterson-UTI Energy is one of the largest
onshore contract drillers in the U.S. with more than 275
land-based rigs that operate primarily in the oil and natural gas
producing regions of North America. The company operates
primarily in three segments - contract drilling, pressure
pumping, and oil and natural gas production and exploration -
with contract drilling being the most significant contributor to
Patterson-UTI currently retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), implying
that it is expected to outperform the broader U.S. equity market
over the next one to three months.
Other better-ranked players in the oil and gas drilling sector
Helmerich & Payne Inc.
Ocean Rig UDW Inc.
Pacific Drilling SA
). All the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).