Rig counts are a critical business barometer for the drilling industry, suppliers, and the investment community. Rig count trends are governed by exploration and production spending, which is influenced by the current and future prices of oil and gas and reflects the true strength and stability of the industry. They also serve as the foremost indicator of demand for products and services used in drilling, completing, producing, and processing of hydrocarbons. Historically, there has been a primary source of rig counts within the industry. This system is the most accurate because it counts only wells actually drilling for oil and gas. However, as the industry has become increasingly more sophisticated, so has the need for new advancements in the rig count methodology.

Addressing this need, a new process has been developed to expand the capabilities of the existing "active" rig count system. This new process has, among other things, enabled checks and balances and audit trails, enhanced data accuracy even further, provided better means of communication, and has adapted to the rapid changes in technology. The transformation from a "rows and columns" visual depiction of data to an interactive mapping visualization has significantly increased the systems' ease of use as well as provided a multitude of ways to view and access the data and to produce necessary reports. Furthermore, future enhancements are planned for weather analysis, benchmarking/comparison of rig efficiencies and real-time bit inventory tracking, and the ability to download performance information for real-time optimization of drilling parameters/bit selection. Although the new interactive mapping system is in its infancy, it has been well received.

The authors of this paper will present a detailed description of the new method and how it continues to address the need for reliable reporting of rig activity information. This will include an overview of the future systems and enhancements.

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