Tight, stressed market leads to higher day rates, more newbuild contracts

The drilling market is increasingly robust with an ever-increasing demand for rigs from a fleet of relatively fixed-size. Utilization is high, with some room for improvement among certain rig types and in some markets. Operators will need to be flexible and creative in order to accomplish their drilling goals under deadlines imposed by lease agreements.North American marketUS oil and gas drilling activities are at a 19-year high. In April 2005, 1,325 rigs were operating compared with 1,161 in April 2004. In spite of skyrocketing profits, according to Economic & Technical Consultants Inc., the growth in capital spending in 2005 will be slower than in 2004.1North American land-rig drill...

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