Tulsa-based global drilling giant Helmerich & Payne Inc. (H&P) said its North American rig count climbed by one-third sequentially and at the end of December was twice the lows experienced last August.


The oilfield services (OFS) driller, whose portfolio is defined by drilling innovations, ended December with 94 rigs in operation across North America. That compares to 195 running at the end of 2019 and 69 working at the end of September.

H&P had 103 contracted rigs for U.S. land operations as of Tuesday (Feb. 9), with 63 under term contracts and 40 with spot contracts. Last year, the U.S. land rig count averaged 81, including 57 under term and 24 with spot contracts.

“Like many, we entered 2021 with a combined sense of relief and optimism — relieved that one of the most...