The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Baker Hughes, Transocean, Diamond Offshore, Patterson-UTI Energy and Helmerich & Payne

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Baker Hughes, Transocean, Diamond Offshore,
                  Patterson-UTI Energy and Helmerich & Payne

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, June 12, 2012

CHICAGO, June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE:BHI),
Transocean Ltd. (NYSE:RIG), Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO), Patterson-UTI Energy
(Nasdaq:PTEN) and Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Nat Gas Drilling Reverses Trend

In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes
Inc. (NYSE:BHI) reported a rise in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs
searching for oil and gas in the country). This can be attributed to an
increase in the tally of natural gas-directed rigs, partially offset by
cutbacks in oil rig count.

The Baker Hughes rig count, issued since 1944, acts as an important yardstick
for drilling contractors such as Transocean Ltd. (NYSE:RIG), Diamond Offshore
(NYSE:DO), Patterson-UTI Energy (Nasdaq:PTEN), Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP),
etc. in gauging the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.

Analysis of the Data

Weekly Summary: Rigs engaged in exploration and production in the U.S. totaled
1,965 for the week ended July 06, 2012. This was up by 6 from the previous
week's count and represents the first increase in the past 4 weeks.

The current nationwide rig count is more than double that of the 6-year low of
876 (in the week ended June 12, 2009) and comfortably exceeds the prior-year
level of 1,887. It rose to a 22-year high in 2008, peaking at 2,031 in the
weeks ending August 29 and September 12.

Rigs engaged in land operations climbed by 3 to 1,896, offshore drilling was
up by 2 to 50 rigs, while inland waters activity gained a rig to reach 19
units.

Natural Gas Rig Count: The natural gas rig count – which recently slumped to a
13-year low – increased for just the fourth time in 26 weeks to 542 (a gain of
8 rigs from the previous week). Despite the weekly improvement, the number of
gas-directed rigs is down approximately 42% from its 2011 peak of 936, reached
during mid-October.

In fact, the current natural gas rig count remains 66% below its all-time high
of 1,606 reached in late summer 2008. In the year-ago period, there were 873
active natural gas rigs.

Oil Rig Count: The oil rig count – which was at a 25-year high of 1,421 in the
previous week – was down by 2 to 1,419. Nevertheless, the current tally is way
above the previous year's rig count of 1,007. It has recovered strongly from a
low of 179 in June 2009, rising by nearly 8 times.

Miscellaneous Rig Count: The miscellaneous rig count (primarily drilling for
geothermal energy) at 4 remained unchanged from the previous week.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs fell by 4 to 549,
while the horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling
technology that has the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock
formations, also known as shale formations) was up by 10 at 1,416. In
particular, horizontal rig units – that reached an all-time high of 1,193 in
May this year – increased by 3 from last week's level to 1,174.

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