Weekly census of drilling rigs still carries considerable weight in Oklahoma
Check the rig count.
That was once the watchword for Oklahoma's prosperity. It still might be. The census of active drilling rigs is an indication of economic strength and how state revenues are faring.
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The count breaks down how many rigs are looking for oil and how many for natural gas. This also is an indication of economic and fiscal strength because gas prices have been depressed relative to oil prices.
State Treasurer Ken Miller notes that a late June rig count by Baker Hughes showed 200 active rigs in Oklahoma. Of these, 154 were drilling for oil and the remainder for natural gas. The news came just as the state wrapped up fiscal 2012, which Oklahoma finished “well into the black,” Miller said. It ended with a month that saw the year's largest decline in gross production tax receipts.
In the early 1980s, the rig count dropped precipitously. Checking the rig count was like checking the temperature on a cold, rainy day, to see if the freezing mark had been hit. Or hourly checking the price of a stock of a corporation in the midst of a crisis.