Giant Oil service firms rush to Saudi Arabia

ARAMCO New Works

Global energy service giants are banking on a boom in Saudi oil and gas drilling over the next few years to revive profits that are being squeezed by overcapacity in the North American market.

Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes have all singled out Saudi Arabia as a major growth market for next year as they search the globe for better returns than the saturated US and Canadian markets offer.

Dozens of offshore and onshore rigs are being lined up for drilling in Saudi Arabia in 2014, and service companies are expanding their Saudi operations to meet buoyant demand.

“We have a very close relationship with Saudi Aramco, and the plans that we see for next year are talking about 200 rigs,” Gabriel Podskuba, area manager for the eastern hemisphere at steel pipe maker Tenaris, told analysts earlier this month.

The rigs will be used for exploration, development and maintenance work across the Kingdom, industry sources in the Gulf said. Aramco is also ramping up drilling in offshore oilfields such as Safaniyah, along with the Arabiyah and Hasbah offshore gas fields.

It is not clear where all the rigs will be deployed because Aramco has yet to issue the tenders.Aramco is still appraising unconventional gas prospects in the southeast of the Kingdom but has already announced plans for a shale

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