Dean E. Gaddy Drilling Editor
Rig activity continues to drop as a result of depressed oil prices. During July, the number of rigs drilling for oil and gas worldwide fell to 1,764, a 19% reduction from last year (Fig. 1 [40,542 bytes]). The worldwide rig count has not been this low since May 1996 when 1,677 rigs were in operation.
October 1997 Brent spot crude averaged $19.97/bbl, falling to $12.17/bbl in July of this year (Fig. 2 [47,714 bytes]). Brent spot crude prices have not been this low since July 1986 when it averaged $9.41/bbl. Even relatively strong gas prices have not slowed the downturn in drilling activity with July 1998 natural gas spot prices (Natural Gas Clearingho...