The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Baker Hughes, Transocean, Diamond Offshore, Noble and Helmerich & Payne

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Baker Hughes, Transocean, Diamond Offshore,
                         Noble and Helmerich & Payne

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Nov. 8, 2012

CHICAGO, Nov. 8, 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 Inc. (NYSE:RIG), Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO), Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE)
and Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

U.S. Rig Count Falls by 26

In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services company

Baker Hughes Inc.

(NYSE:

BHI

) reported a dip in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and
gas in the country). This fall can be attributed to cutbacks in the tally of
oil-directed rigs, partially offset by increase in natural gas rig count.

The Baker Hughes rig count, issued since 1944, acts as an important yardstick
for drilling contractors such as Transocean Inc. (NYSE:RIG), Diamond Offshore
(NYSE:DO), Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE), 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
1,800 for the week ended November 2, 2012. This was down by 26 from the
previous week's rig count and represents the tenth decrease in 12 weeks.

Despite this, the current nationwide rig count is more than double than that
of the 6-year low of 876 (in the week ended June 12, 2009) though it is below
the prior-year level of 2,026. 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 descended by 26 to 1,733, offshore drilling
was down by 1 to 51 rigs, while inland waters activity increased by 1 to 16
units.

Natural Gas Rig Count:

The natural gas rig count recovered from a 13-year low – increasing for the
fifth time in 11 weeks – to 424 (a gain of 8 rigs from the previous week).
Despite the weekly improvement, the number of gas-directed rigs is down 55%
from its 2011 peak of 936, reached during mid-October.

In fact, the current natural gas rig count remains 74% below its all-time high
of 1,606 reached in late summer 2008. In the year-ago period, there were 907
active natural gas rigs.

Oil Rig Count:

The oil rig count – which was at a 25-year high of 1,432 in August – was down
by 35 to 1,373. Nevertheless, the current tally is way above the previous
year's rig count of 1,112. It has recovered strongly from a low of 179 in June
2009, rising by almost 8 times.

Miscellaneous Rig Count: The miscellaneous rig count (primarily drilling for
geothermal energy) at 3 was up by 1 from the previous week.

Rig Count by Type:

The number of vertical drilling rigs fell by 12 to 500, 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 down by 14 at 1,300. In particular, horizontal
rig units – that reached an all-time high of 1,193 in May this year – remained
unchanged from the last week's level at 1,105.

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