Houston Chronicle


Some 368 horizontal drilling rigs are in operation in Texas, and more than half of them belong to three drilling companies.

In figures exclusively provided to the Houston Chronicle, the Austin oilfield data firm Enverus reports that Tulsa-based Helmerich & Payne is the top drilling rig operator in Texas with 117 horizontal rigs deployed across the state.

Drilling Down: Top 10 drilling rig companies in Texas and their customers- oil and gas 360

Source: Houston Chronicle

Nabor Industries, a drilling rig operator headquartered in Bermuda with principal offices in Houston, ranks second with 42 active horizontal rigs. Calgary oilfield service company Ensign Energy Services ranks third with 33 horizontal drilling rigs deployed in Texas.

Combined, the three companies account for more than half the active horizontal rigs in the nation’s busiest and largest oil fields, which include the Permian Basin of West Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas and the Haynesville Shale of East Texas.

Facing crude oil prices stuck in the mid-$50 per barrel range, the U.S. rig count has fallen to levels not seen since March 2017, when the industry was barely beginning to recover from the oil bust that began in 2014 and led companies to lay off tens of thousands of workers.

Enverus estimates that 830 drilling rigs are in operation across the United States and roughly half of them are in Texas.

Three exploration and production companies contract about one-fifth of the horizontal drilling rigs operating in Texas, figures from Enverus show.

Exxon Mobil, headquartered in Irving, has 35 drilling rigs in operation across the state. Poised to become the number one driller in Texas, Exxon Mobil has filed for more than 600 drilling permits so far this year. More than 87 percent of those were for projects in the Permian Basin followed by 7 percent in the Eagle Ford, 1 percent in the Haynesville and the remainder elsewhere in the state.

Midland exploration and production company Diamondback Energy, which drills exclusively in the Permian, has 20 drilling rigs in operation. So far this year, Diamondback has filed for 377 drilling permits almost evenly split between the Midland Basin in the eastern end of the region and the Delaware Basin in the western end.


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