Singapore: Brazil and India were the biggest users of offshore oil rigs in July as Petrobras SA drilled the Americas’ biggest discovery in three decades and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) started developing a coastal field.
Brazil deployed 29 rigs, the most in 21 years, and India, the largest user of rigs in the Asia-Pacific region, ordered 28, adding two since June, Baker Hughes Inc., the world’s third biggest oilfield services provider, said on its websiteon Friday. The countries accounted for 18% of equipment used to drill in waters internationally, excluding the US and Canada.
Digging deep: A Petrobras 54 offshore drilling platform in Niteroi, Brazil
Benchmark crude prices, which reached a record $147.27 (Rs6,215) a barrel in New York, have sparked increased exploration efforts from the Gulf of Mexico to the Indian Ocean. Oil companies, including Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc., are hiring vessels to plumb the sea floor for untapped reserves.
The offshore rig count in Asia-Pacific rose by 13% from a year earlier, while in Latin America the number increased 6.7% to 80, the Baker Hughes report showed. Asia Pacific and Latin America deployed 211 rigs last month, or about 68% of equipment used to drill in waters globally, excluding the US and Canada.
Increased exploration spending has tripled rental rates and kept deep-water rigs operating near capacity for two years, according to information posted on the website of Transocean Inc., the world’s largest offshore driller. The average fee for Transocean’s most advanced deep-water rig jumped 35% from a year earlier to $390,400 a day.
The Houston-based company’s profit for the three months ended June increased for the eighth quarter in a row as equipment rentals rose to an all-time high. Transocean announced $6.45 billion in contract extensions and new leases during the April-June period for vessels hired by Mumbai-based RIL, Petrobras andBP Plc.
Petrobras signed a $3.05 billion deal last month with Transocean for renting four of the company’s rigs through 2016.
RIL plans to start production from a gas discovery on India’s east coast. The field will produce the equivalent of 44% of the country’s current output when it starts this year.
The international rig count, excluding the US and Canada, last month stood at 1,092, compared with 1,102 in June and 1,018 in July 2007, Baker Hughes said.
The drilling services provider has published the rotary rig counts since 1944, when Hughes Tool Co. began weekly counts of the US and Canadian drilling activity, the website said.
However, the monthly international rig count started in 1975.
Joe Carroll contributed to this story.