Our History

Nabors is an industry pacesetter. Since its founding in 1952 by Clair Nabors, our company has been driven by growth and innovation.

In 1963, we set the bar for drilling in Alaska, drilling the discovery well for ARCO in what would become the giant Prudhoe Bay Field on Alaska’s North Slope. We went on to drill BP’s first successful well in that field.

We pioneered the use of camps to support drilling activity, engineered new methods for making crew changes and led the pack as the first company to staff women in our camps. Our innovations in Alaska – where we pioneered the development and use of modular rigs and moving systems, and would later drill the world’s first horizontal well – continue to be used today.

In 1974, our advances attracted the attention of the Guggenheim family, owners of New York-based company Anglo Energy. Anglo acquired control of Nabors Drilling. After a decade of ownership, a decline in the economy and a depressed oil and gas energy market forced Anglo into bankruptcy, but gave investors Gene Isenberg and Marty Whitman the opportunity they needed to take the company in a new direction of growth and prosperity.

Isenberg and Whitman acquired a sizable position in the company in 1986 by convincing creditors to trade debt for equity, strengthening the company’s financial position. They took control of the company and changed the name from Anglo to Nabors, a brand that enjoyed a great reputation in Alaska and Canada.

In 1988, Chairman and CEO Isenberg identified Westburne Drilling as our company’s first international acquisition with operations in the Middle East. This success began an era of growth and acquisitions for Nabors that would continue for more than two decades.

In 1990, our company acquired the venerable Loffland Brothers Drilling, a company with 75 years of history and at one time the largest drilling company in the world. Nabors opened a corporate headquarters in Houston to manage the company’s expected growth as we bought up drilling contractors at a significant discount.

Grace Drilling was one such drilling contractor, and its 1993 acquisition by Nabors was a deal so good it is unlikely to be repeated. Nabors added 167 rigs to our fleet for only $32 million – approximately 15 cents on the replacement dollar.

Nabors continued to grow, expanding into new branches of the industry. The acquisition of a hydraulic slant drilling rig from Canada-based Canrig, which had just completed construction of a portable top drive prototype, put Nabors into the drilling equipment business. Acquiring Sundowner expanded our presence in offshore drilling. The purchase of Epoch Well Services in 1997 put Nabors into the instrumentation market and was the first step in expanding our wellsite content offering, including technology such as ROCKIT® and REVIT™.

Nabors made seven more acquisitions in 1997 and six in 1998 as we saw opportunities to provide more services to more clients. The addition of Pool Energy Services in 1999 brought Nabors into the well servicing business and extended the company’s reach internationally, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

In 2010, Nabors completed its largest acquisition to date when it added Superior Well Services. This acquisition added pressure pumping, which is an essential piece for developing oil and gas shales, and provided the missing link in our company’s life-of-well strategy. Additionally, Superior brought premium assets with strong market positions and great growth potential.

Our growth during these years has been nothing short of remarkable. The stock price went from less than 50 cents to more than $50 before splitting. Enterprise value went from $100 million to $17 billion and the employee workforce mushroomed from 320 to more than 29,000.
In 2015, Nabors renewed its focus on drilling services and technologies by combining its completion and production services business with C&J Energy Services. This transaction enabled Nabors to devote its talent and resources on improving and growing the Company's position within the global drilling market while also creating a high-quality, diversified oilfield services company in North America with strong international growth potential. By maintaining a significant ownership interest in the new company, Nabors will capture the earnings potential of the business as market conditions improve.

Today, Nabors Industries is one of the world's largest oil and gas drilling contractors. It boasts a tremendous portfolio of high quality, innovative assets, an ethnically diverse, culturally rich and multi-talented workforce, and a global infrastructure of services and facilities that is unmatched in the industry.