Iraq has ambitious plans to boost crude output capacity by more than 300,000 b/d to 5mn b/d by end-2017. How viable this is remains to be seen, but it has certainly upped the ante when it comes to drilling. The latest figures from services firm Baker Hughes show the number of active drilling rigs in Iraq (all are onshore oil rigs) hit a 17-month high of 51 in May.

Drilling is still well down on 2014’s highs, but has been steadily increasing since the second half of 2016. How much further it will rise in 2017 is unclear as IOCs are still cautious on investment in Iraq. Shell has mobilized three rigs at its Majnoon field and more will follow, but not this year. Eni meanwhile will maintain four rigs at Zubair (MEES, 26 May). (CONTINUED - 473 WORDS)