Saudi Arabia boosted drilling activity for the 18th consecutive month, hitting a record 126 rigs in April – up one on March. This steady ramp up since late 2013 saw Saudi Arabia raise hydrocarbon production to near-record levels in 2014 of 9.5mn b/d crude and 11.3bn cfd gas, from 9.4mn b/d and 11bn cfd respectively. And with state-energy giant Aramco set to focus the bulk of its spending on upstream activities over the coming decade, this is a figure that is likely to rise going forward (see p6). (CONTINUED - 584 WORDS)