Drilling in the Middle East rose to an 18-month high in June with 406 active rigs, the most since December 2015’s 409 rigs. The rig count average of 401 for the first half of 2017 is a record for the first six months of any year.

Drilling in the region has remained at near-record levels according to the Rig Count numbers of GE subsidiary Baker Hughes. This is despite Opec’s decision to freeze output in November last year in a bid to help an oil price recovery. This is both as part of plans to increase crude production capacity in the coming years (see p13), as well as to address domestic gas shortages (see p2). (CONTINUED - 386 WORDS)