Rig Players in West Africa Set For $17bn Drilling Bonanza

An increase in offshore discoveries is prompting a surge in exploration activity across the Middle East and Africa and driving up the amount spent on drilling. Drilling outlay is expected to grow across all major nations in the region, with those in West Africa leading in terms of exploration activity. Escalating activity in countries relatively new to the offshore drilling industry, such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, may prove to be future competition for the more established nations of West Africa.

Ghana is expected to emerge as one of the most prominent countries in West Africa for the exploration of oil and gas, with 16 offshore discoveries made between 2008 and 2012 – second only to Angola, where 22 discoveries were made during the same period. Rig contractors, particularly those like Seadrill and Ensco operating modern units designed for Africa’s deep water plays are set to cash in on the prospecting surge.

In terms of drilling expenditure, Angola is expected to remain the biggest spender in the region by some margin, over the next few years at least. It is expected that drilling expenditure in the Southern African country to continue climbing in the near future, hitting US$6.67 billion in 2016. Day rates for deep water rigs there are currently at around the $600,000 mark but this is expected to increase in the future.

GBI Research’s report “Offshore Drilling Industry in Middle East and Africa to 2016 – Pre-Salt Potential in West Africa and Significant Gas Finds Off the East African Coast Driving Exploration Activity” provides an in-depth analysis of the offshore drilling market in the Middle East and Africa region and highlights the various concerns, shifting trends and major players in the region.

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