Worldwide Rig Count
(Since Jan. 1998)

Source: Baker Hughes

Bolstered by rising natural gas prices, the worldwide rig count reached a 13-year high in January and now stands at 2,374, up 162 rigs from December, according to

Baker Hughes

.

Canada accounted for the bulk of the gain, as it jumped 129 rigs from December. In fact, Canada's uptick accounted for 80% of the worldwide jump from December to January. Kyle Leak, a spokesman over at Baker Hughes, says that Canada continues to see "seasonal improvement."

But Leak says that going forward, investors should keep an eye on the U.S. He says the number of rigs deployed in the U.S. will eventually be constrained. "There is eventually a full utilization that we will reach. We already have drillers that cannot get crews together," he says.

What that means is that natural gas prices could head even higher, because the U.S. gets almost all of its natural gas from within its own borders. Indeed, if U.S. drillers can't add capacity, prices will move higher.

The U.S. only added 21 rigs from December to January; the number of U.S. rigs will be an important component in the worldwide totals to watch as we move ahead.