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Baker Hughes sees Saudi, Iraq drilling boost

Al Khobar, May 18, 2011

Baker Hughes, the world's third largest oilfield services firm expects drilling activity to pick up in Opec-members Saudi Arabia and Iraq from the second half of this year as delayed projects restart, a company executive said on Wednesday.

"For the second half of 2011, we expect activity to increase, especially if you look at Saudi and Iraq," Hans-Christian Freitag, Baker Hughes' vice president of marketing in the Middle East told Reuters in an interview.

"Together those two countries will see an increase in activity, with projects that were on hold for some time in Iraq now starting up and rigs are being deployed."    

Saudi Arabia plans to boost its rig count by almost 30 per cent and has raised its output this year to help compensate for disruption of supply from fellow Opec-member Libya.

In Iraq, work in oilfields being developed by foreign oil companies is going ahead "normally" and faster than contracted, the country's deputy prime minister for energy Hussain Al-Shahristani said on Saturday.

Freitag said "it is very impressive to see how Aramco is responding and how they are accelerating projects that were delayed slightly."    

Alasdair Shiach, vice president and managing director of the US firm in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain told Reuters in the same interview he did not expect oil prices to go below the $80 per barrel level.

"As shale oils become more prevalent, then you might see the balance between supply and demand become closer but I don't think they (prices) can go much below the $80 a barrel in the foreseeable future and at that level for service industry, it's good."    

Oil rebounded more than $1 to above $111 a barrel on Wednesday, after falling for two sessions, supported by a surprise drop in U.S. gasoline inventories and a weaker dollar. - Reuters




Tags: Saudi Arabia | Oil | Drilling | Iraq | oilfield | Baker Hughes |

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