As goes the oil patch, so goes equipment gorilla National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV). As long as the current slump is sustained, it will be hard for investors to get too pumped about this drilling rig outfitter.

The second quarter, which saw the global rig count fall by 25% sequentially, did NOV's book of business no favors. While a big-ticket drillship order bumped up the quarterly capital equipment take to $616 million, compared to last quarter's meager $240 million, order cancellations increased as well. On balance, backlog shrank by roughly $900 million, representing about a 9% sequential contraction.

Interestingly, NOV is still hanging onto its projection of $3 to $4 billion in backlog additions for the year. To reiterate, that outlook really hinges on Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) coming through in a big way with its expected massive tender for 28 new deepwater vessels.

I think NOV, given its rig technology dominance, will indeed land a lot of work outfitting these rigs. While I don't really care whether the awards hit the company's backlog this year or next year, investors could be in for some short-term chop if there's some sort of delay on that front. For what it's worth, Petrobras says it's in the "final phase of the concession process."

As for the world outside of Brazil, it is pretty slow out there. Rig contract awards have been few and far between, with Pride International (NYSE:PDE) landing a somewhat disappointing dayrate for a year's work offshore West Africa for Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL). As for North American gas drilling, activity is at a five-year ebb, according to Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB).

If we are indeed looking at the bottom of the cycle, as NOV and others are arguing, then long-term investors in this stalwart don't have much to worry about. Another leg down in oil, to the sub-$40s, say, would make things decidedly more uncomfortable.

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National Oilwell Varco is a Stock Advisor selection. Petrobras is an Income Investor recommendation. Check out any of our Foolish newsletters free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.