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15 Largest Drilling Companies in the World

Ty Haqqi
·9 min read

In this article we will present the 15 largest drilling companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and see the 5 largest drilling companies in the world.

Our article focuses on the offshore drilling industries and the biggest companies contributing the most to this sector, which is estimated to be worth over $50 billion and expected to reach nearly $57 billion in 2026. Unlike many other industries, this is a severely struggling one, whose troubles have been exacerbated over the last several years and despite the anticipation of an increase in the demand of hydrocarbons, demand which is the reason behind the estimate of the industry's worth increasing by 2026, the existence of the industry is severely under threat.

But maybe I am getting too far ahead of myself. First, let's take a look at the definition of an offshore drilling company. An offshore drilling company engages in the process whereby a wellbore is drilled under the seabed. This is mostly done to be able to extract petroleum, which is generally present in the rock formations that lie below the seabed. While the process can be applied in lakes, rivers, inland seas and inshore waters, it is generally referred to describe any drilling activities taking place on the continental shelf.

The industry itself has been a controversial for many years now, and anything regarding the exploration and extraction of oil and other fossil fuels attracts controversy, which is why the industry has been at the center of a debate regarding whether this practice should even continue in the future, restrictions to be associated with it and whether the industry may one day be entirely banned. While the discussion below centers mostly around the US and US administered waters, similar discussions are taking place across the world as well, especially in developed economies. The controversy started in 1969 when a blowout, which is the uncontrolled release of oil from an oil well or natural gas from a gas well, at a Unocal rig resulted in millions of gallons being spilled in the ocean, and saw drilling bans enforced in both Florida and California.

oil, drill, sunset, gas, the, resources, fuel, natural, cloud, pipelines, diesel, sunrise, power, business, pump, jack, derrick, orange, supplies, wells, sun, machines, black,
oil, drill, sunset, gas, the, resources, fuel, natural, cloud, pipelines, diesel, sunrise, power, business, pump, jack, derrick, orange, supplies, wells, sun, machines, black,

QiuJu Song/Shuterrstock.com

There are of course several reasons that support offshore drilling; with energy independence being one of the primary reasons used to support offshore drilling. After all, if there's one thing that the US hates more than anything, it is being dependent on any country for oil. In fact, this is one of the reasons why the joke about US invading countries for oil is so popular; there is a ring of truth to it. However, it may surprise people to know that the US is actually the largest producer of oil in the world, and is responsible for a fifth of the global production. It's just that since its usage within the country is so extensive, it is still dependent on imports from other countries as well. You can learn more about this by visiting the 11 largest oil reserves by the country. Another reason behind supporting offshore drilling in the US is to control the prices of oil, which were steady from the 1980s to 2003, after which prices started to rise exponentially and we will discuss more about oil prices later on. However, reliable studies state that increasing US production would have only a marginal impact on prices and it's unlikely to provide substantial contributions to controlling oil prices.

Of course, there are several arguments against offshore drilling as well, with the aforementioned oil spills and their devastation on the environment being quite apparent. Furthermore, drills in offshore areas threaten endangered species as well, and this was only exacerbated by the infamous BP oil spill, also known as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which is the biggest oil spill in history and was instrumental in getting public opinion to become against offshore drillings, though public opinion on this tends to fluctuate.

Of course, Covid-19 has completely changed the world. The pandemic, which has thrown all forecasts and expectations out of the window, having infected over 50 million people and having killed over 1.3 million people. Due to the nature of transmission of the virus, and the fact that until Pfizer's recent breakthrough, there was no way to avoid the virus, most countries across the world went into lockdown and businesses were closed as people were told to stay home to stay safe. This has resulted in a drastic decrease in the price of oil, with futures dipping below $0 a few months ago for the first time in history, and for an industry where costs are already astronomically high in setting up rigs and the equipment and process in offshore drilling, this has been a fatal blow for many. Even earlier in the year, when lockdowns were just starting, thousands of offshore jobs were cut as demand fell significantly over the period of time. Even before this happened, the number of active offshore drilling sites had decreased by 50% when compared to 2015, as oil prices kept falling and poor cashflows in the industry. Many contracts have had to be cancelled within this time, and even though customers are paying cancellation fees, this is still a huge blow for an already ailing industry. Whether the companies below survive the pandemic, or even if this industry survives, remains to be seen.

To determine the current biggest drilling companies in the world, we visited Forbes and ranked each company according to its revenue, assets and net income. An interesting thing to note is that even in 2019, many of these companies had significant losses, which shows how precarious the position of the company is. So without further ado, let's take a look at the companies engaged in one of the most controversial practices, right now starting with number 15:

15. Diamond Offshore Drilling (OTCMKTS: DOFSQ)

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 0.98

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): 5.8

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): -357

Diamond Offshore Drilling is based in Texas, while also having a strong presence in Australia, Norway, Mexico, Brazil, Singapore and Scotland. The company was founded 56 years ago in 1964, and has faced a difficult few years, with revenues, assets and income all falling further in 2019. The company has 2,500 employees.

Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc (NYSE:DO)
Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc (NYSE:DO)

Pixabay/Public Domain

14. Rowan

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 0.94

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): 6.6

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): 736.8

The company was only founded in the last decade, coming into existence in 2011. The company operates in three different segments; drilling products, drilling services and mining, forestry and steel products. The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas and operates both in the US and internationally as well.

Workers in an Oilfield Oil Drilling Halliburton HAL BHI SLB XOM CVX BP Stocks
Workers in an Oilfield Oil Drilling Halliburton HAL BHI SLB XOM CVX BP Stocks

branislavpudar/Shutterstock.com

13. Stena Drilling

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 4.05

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): N/A

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): -N/A

Stena Drilling is a subsidiary of Stena AB, which is one of the largest family owned Swedish companies. The company has several drillships and semi-submersible platforms, and is a UK based company headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Antero Resources
Antero Resources

Pixabay/Public Domain

12. Noble Corp (OTCMKTS: NEBLQ)

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 3.4

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): 12.9

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): 500.3

Another UK company makes our list though Noble Corp. is headquartered in London, and operates 25 drilling rigs which includes 8 drillships, 13 jackup rigs and 4 semi-submersible platforms. Noble Corp. derives most of its revenues from Royal Dutch Shell, which contributes 36.5% of the revenue, Exxon Mobil, which contributes 13.7% of the revenue, Equinor which contributes 13.1% of the revenue and Saudi Aramco, which contributes 11.9% of the revenue.

Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE)
Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE)

Pixabay/Public Domain

11. Fluor Corporation (NYSE:FLR)

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 17

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): 7.9

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): -1,300

Another American drilling company which is located in America, Fluor is one of the biggest companies in America, even though its operations are suffering significantly as evidenced by a $1.3 billion loss in 2019, in addition to falling revenue.

Fluor Corporation (NEW) (NYSE:FLR)
Fluor Corporation (NEW) (NYSE:FLR)

Pixabay/Public Domain

10. Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR)

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 6.2

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): 12.2

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): 141.7

Most of the American companies are headquartered in Texas with Houston being the preferred city within the state and Nabors is no exception. The company employs 15,000 people.

Nabors Industries Ltd. (NYSE:NBR)
Nabors Industries Ltd. (NYSE:NBR)

Pixabay/Public Domain

9. Ensco

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 2.8

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): 14.4

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): 874.2

Ensco was a company listed in the UK, and one of the most profitable drilling companies in the world. In 2019, it merged with Rowan and is now named Valaris, though there isn't a lot of information available about Valaris as of now.

Pixabay/Public Domain

8. Baker Hughes (NYSE:BKR)

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 9.8

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): 19

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): -2,700

Baker Hughes is another American company in our list, and in 2017, merged with GE Oil and Gas, to become Baker Hughes, a GE Company (BHGE), only to divest in 2019 and become known as Baker Hughes Company again. In September 2020, GE was no longer a majority owner, and intends to divest completely over the next few years.

Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI)
Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI)

Pixabay/Public Domain

7. Seadrill (OTCMKTS:SDRLF)

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 4.3

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): 23.5

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): -739

Seadrill is one of the many major drilling companies which is making a major loss, and was founded in 2005. The company is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL)
Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL)

Pixabay/Public Domain

6. Weatherford International (OTCMKTS:WFTLF)

Latest revenue for the company (in billions of dollars): 5.2

Latest assets of the company (in billions of dollars): 7.3

Latest net income for the company (in millions of dollars): 3,600

The company has more than 20,000 employees and is one of the few really profitable drilling companies. It, like most drilling companies, is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 largest drilling companies in the world. Disclosure: None. 15 largest drilling companies in the world is originally published at Insider Monkey.