Oil field services company Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) this morning reported that its count of foreign oil and gas drilling rigs fell from 1,267 in November to 1,253 in December. Adding in Canadian and U.S. rigs, the total global count is 3,518, well below February 2012’s 3,900 total count, which was the highest in more than two years.
Month over month, the largest increase came in Mexico, up from 105 rigs in November to 114 in December. The largest decrease came in Egypt, down from 61 in November to 48 in December.
Among the foreign rig count, the Middle East showed the largest drop, with 31 fewer rigs in December than in November. In addition to the drop in Egypt, the Saudi count fell by eight rigs and Oman’s rig count fell by six.
For the full year, foreign rig counts rose from a total of 1,171 in January to 1,253 at the end of the year. In the United States, rig counts fell from a January total of 2,003 to 1,784, and the Canadian count fell from 577 in January to 353 to end the year.
The overall drop in the global rig count is not good news for the services companies like Baker Hughes, Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB), Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) and Weatherford International Inc. (NYSE: WFT). Last month, Baker Hughes lowered the fourth-quarter outlook on its North American operations due to the lack of new onshore drilling and completion work.