In determining oilfield service company stocks to buy in the current bear stock market, it is important to review the current US drilling activity. The U.S. rig count was up 1 rig last week to finish at 1,875 rigs. The gas rig count continues its move lower, with natural gas prices remaining near 10-year lows and is under 500 rigs, after finishing last week at 496 active gas rigs and down 40% year over year. The oil rig count picked up some of its prior week losses, gaining 12 rigs to close last week at 1,350 rigs.
Horizontal and directional drilling rigs continue to dominate the rig count with 73% of all rigs last week. The percentage of horizontal and directional rigs has moved between 70 and 75% over the past two-and-a-half years.
The Marcellus saw further weakness this week, falling to 131 rigs, which coincides with the weakness which we have been projecting. The Permian Basin continues to have the majority of the U.S. Drilling activity at around 22%. Patterson (NASDAQ:PTEN) continues to be the dominate player in the Permian Basin, with 51 rigs running in the Permian Basin.
The U.S. based drilling contractors' activity has declined 3% in the last 12 weeks. Trinidad (OTCPK:TDGCF) and Savanna (OTC:SVGYF) have managed to outperform, seeing their rig counts fall by 5% and 4%, respectively. Precision's (NYSE:PDS) total active rig count has fallen in line with the industry at 6% over the past 12 weeks.
Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR) continues to be a stock that controls about 11% of the drilling contractor market share in the US and had 201 rigs running for the week ended June 15, 2012 which is up 3% over the prior week.
Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP) continues to control about 11% of the drilling contractor market share in the U.S. and had 208 rigs running for the week ended June 15, 2012 which is up 1% over the prior week. Also, Precision Drilling continues to control about 5% of the drilling contractor market share in the US and had 90 rigs running for the week ended June 15, 2012 which is down 1% over the prior week.
Additional information of value to investors investing in oil stocks trading on the North American stock markets are drilling results and related production information for the various oil and gas stocks. To view this data see Oil Stocks Western Canadian Drilling Results.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.