Drilling is the lifeblood of the oil and natural gas business. To get to the stuff that still powers most of the world, you have to dig down into the earth. According to the most recent data available in 2014 from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, drilling companies drill 35 million feet per year. The top 10 companies, ranked by the total distance they drilled in a year, make up a big share of this.

Top 10

As of June 2014, the top drilling company is Helmerich & Payne, Inc., with 24,293,548 feet drilled for the year ending May 31, 2014, according to RigData. Helmerich & Payne claims to own and operate the largest land fleet of AC drive drilling rigs in the world. The second-largest drilling company, RigData says, is Patterson-UTI Drilling Company, LLC, which has drilled 14,430,501 feet for the year. Nabors Industries, Ltd., is the third-largest drilling company at 12,111,396 feet drilled. The remaining companies rounding out the top 10 are Precision Drilling Trust (6,548,770 feet drilled), Nomac Drilling, LLC (6,003,645 feet), Ensign Energy Services, Inc. (5,704,001 feet), Unit Drilling Company (4,524,263 feet), Pioneer Energy Services Corp. (3,804,851 feet), Trinidad Energy Services Income Trust (3,470,499 feet) and Cactus Drilling Company, LLC (3,227,287 feet).