If you kick around the oil and gas industry for any length of time, you’ll hear about something called “the rig count.” Rig counts are the number of drilling rigs in use by energy companies to drill (or “spud”) new wells. If the rig count falls, that means new leasing is likely to fall and eventually, natural gas production will fall. But in the case of the Marcellus, falling rig counts don’t mean falling production—quite the opposite. It just means there’s a whole lot of wells already drilled, waiting to be completed and hooked up to pipelines.
Still, a falling rig count does give you a feel for where new drilling will (or won’t) take place—valuable for landowners and businesses to know. The latest numbers for Pennsylvania show the rig count in that state falling to its lowest level in years: