By Sebastine Obasi
NIGERIA’s offshore rig count from June till September has reduced to seven from 11 recorded as at end first half 2016, H1’16, indicating that four rigs were shut down in third quarter, Q3’16, Baker Hughes, global oil industry data and information company stated in its oil data report. This is coming as Baker Hughes reported that the international offshore rig count for September 2016 was down by 47 rigs
The data stated that funding cuts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and growing security concerns may have triggered a significant drop in the number of offshore oil rigs involved in drilling operations.
The report is, however, not in tandem with the latest (September) Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC data which stated that Nigeria’s oil rig count remains unchanged as it stood at 24 both in June and July.
Chairman of Nigeria’s chapter of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), Mr. Sola Falodun, explained that budget cuts by NNPC due to cash crunch and non-payment of its joint venture funding sent a negative signal to the international oil companies.
“As soon as the cuts were made, companies who operate Joint Ventures with the NNPC, including Mobil Producing Nigeria, Agip Oil, (subsidiary of ENI), and Shell Petroleum Development Company reacted by dropping rigs.”
According to him, the implications of the budget cuts include loss of jobs, negative impact on capacity development, drop in crude and gas production and less than rapid increase in reserves replacement.
He further said that the IADC is concerned the development coupled with the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), “will render the goals of Nigerian content initiative ineffective with regard to utilization of drilling rigs. The situation looks bleak.”
According to Falodun, “There are 34 rigs currently domiciled in the country, involved in drilling, cementing, completing, moving from one location to another (rig move), undergoing maintenance, involved in wire-line logging, doing well control, reaming, casing, and even suspended operations. Out of this figure, eleven are involved in drilling, eight were completing, three cementing and casing, and one was logging”.