Oil & Gas Well Drilling Industry Profile

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Excerpt from Oil & Gas Well Drilling Industry Profile

Companies in this industry specialize in drilling oil and gas wells for others on a contract or fee basis. Major companies include Diamond Offshore, Helmerich & Payne, Nabors, and Patterson-UTI (all based in the US), as well as Precision Drilling (Canada), Transocean (Switzerland), and Valaris (UK).

Worldwide, drilling locations are determined by oil and gas production and reserves. Some of the largest oil and gas reserves are in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, and Iraq, according to NS Energy Business. Discovery of new reserves is also increasing drilling services demand in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Algeria and Libya, among others, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The US oil and gas well drilling industry includes about 2,500 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $20 billion. Oil and gas field services other than drilling are covered in a separate industry profile.


Demand is driven by oil and gas prices. The profitability of individual companies depends on technical expertise and efficiency of operations. Large companies can offer a broader range of services in addition to drilling, and they can contract to serve major clients in multiple locations. Small firms can compete effectively by specializing in a particular type of drilling or geographic area.


Drilling a well with a drilling rig involves creating a hole using a drill bit attached to a rotating drill ...

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