*Key Gulf producers slashed upstream spending and activity as crude prices headed south in 2020, whilst Covid-related logistics concerns provided another impediment to drilling activity (MEES, 26 March 2021). For 2020 the region’s rig count (active drilling rigs as measured by Baker Hughes) fell to a seven-year low average of 288 despite beginning the year at an all-time high 375 as Opec Basket crude prices slumped to an average of $43/B.
*But it was 2021 that felt the full impact of 2020’s spending pullback. 2021’s average Gulf rig count of 208 was the lowest annual figure since 2011. Saudi Arabia’s 62 was the lowest since 2005, Kuwait’s 25 the lowest since 2010, Iraq’s 39 the lowest since 2011, and the UAE’s 42 a six-year low (see chart 1). (CONTINUED - 612 WORDS)