The much-touted boost to Saudi and broader Gulf drilling activity has yet to materialize according to latest data from services firm Baker Hugues and comments from key services and engineering firms. But, in line with Aramco’s indications that it plans to pick up investment in the second half of this year (MEES, 13 August), these firms are confident that an increase in activity is imminent.

Latest rig count data from Baker Hughes indicates that just 57 drilling rigs were active in the kingdom as of last month, with both this figure and the offshore figure of six the lowest since 2006 (see chart). Aramco slashed spending and activity from Q2 last year, partly to save cash as oil prices headed south, and partly due to Covid-related logistics concerns (MEES, 20 November 2020). Though services firms reported signs that Aramco was rebooting activity in their Q1 results in April (MEES, 30 April), the same firms’ Q2 results indicate that they are still waiting. (CONTINUED - 980 WORDS)