TULSA — Even when the oil and natural gas industry bottomed out in 2008, Helmerich & Payne Inc. never stopped building.
As a result, the Tulsa-based driller now has the youngest, most technically capable rig fleet in the industry. It also boasts the largest fleet of land rigs in the United States.
“We led the industry
Helmerich & Payne also is one of the leading public companies in Oklahoma, ranking No. 4 on this year's Oklahoma Inc. list with earnings per share rising an impressive 214.4
Helmerich said the company's focus on building its rig fleet during the recession was not a
“We stayed very much engaged in an effort to add additional flex rigs. All of those were under long-term contracts from our customers so it wasn't like we were speculating,” he said. “We were being supported by firm orders.”
Continued activity was good for the drilling company's employees as well.
“That kept our people together and kept a core competency intact,”
The driller still is building more rigs, recently
Helmerich said the company's utilization and day rates have improved as the oil and natural gas
He dismissed concerns that another recession could be coming. He said he tends to be more optimistic.
“We think that energy is going to be an important cornerstone of the country's economic growth,” Helmerich said. “It's the same when you look at the global economy.
“In today's environment, that's going to
Helmerich & Payne is well-equipped to deal with the change as more producers are focusing on oil and natural gas liquids, so Helmerich believes the company's progress is
Juan Pablo Tardio, the company's chief financial officer, said Helmerich & Payne has 255 land rigs in its U.S. fleet, with 224 of those working, and commitments to build 35 more rigs in this fiscal year. The company also has 24 international rigs and nine offshore drilling platforms.
“We would expect to continue taking market share going forward,” he said.
Tardio said other drilling companies are building new rigs now too, but many of them are trying to replace aging equipment, with as much as 90 percent of their fleets being made up of older rigs.
“Every time they put one new rig out in the field, typically it's at the expense of letting a very old rig become stagnant,” he said. “They have not gained as much traction as we have.”
Helmerich & Payne has built 182 rigs since 2006.
“That makes us by far the youngest land fleet in the world,” Tardio said.
Helmerich said the company never set out to amass the nation's largest fleet of land rigs, but that is what happened.
“We set about wanting to have the highest performing, most capable drilling rig,” he said. “The market has really just responded by allowing us to have the best market share.
“We've been very fortunate.”
Helmerich said he expects the company to capitalize on its investment in new technology as other drilling companies enter replacement cycle to phase out older assets.