Oscarline Onwuemenyi 30 September 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Most of the more recent growth in active offshore rigs outside the US had occurred in Africa, according to a recent report by the Energy Information Administration, EIA, the statistical arm of the United States’ Department of Energy.
The number of offshore oil projects expected to come on stream within the next five years in Nigeria is less than a third of the same projects in Angola, the report stated.
The EIA, in the new report, said, “Angola and Nigeria account for much of the growth in the region after 2010. Angola has more than 10 offshore oil projects expected to come online within the next five years.
“Nigeria’s offshore activities have been focusing on the deepwater and ultra-deepwater; at least three deepwater projects are in development and are projected to come online within the next five years.”
It added that in response to the decline in crude oil prices since mid-2014, the number of active offshore rigs has declined worldwide, dropping close to 20%—304 offshore rigs were operating in August 2015, down from 377 in August 2014.
During this period, the number of active offshore rigs in the US Gulf of Mexico, GOM, dropped more rapidly, falling by 46%. Over the past 15 years, the US GOM’s share of active offshore rigs worldwide has declined significantly—from almost half of all active offshore rigs worldwide in 2000 to less than 20% since 2008.
In the US GOM, technology advancements accelerated the development of the deepwater (areas where the water depth is greater than 1,000 feet).
“The move to deeper waters prompted the departure of rigs operating in the shallow waters of the US GOM. Natural gas prospects in the GOM have also become less profitable, as the largely shale-driven increase in onshore natural gas supply contributed to decreases in US natural gas prices.
“The number of active offshore rigs in the US GOM declined from 122 in January 2000 to 41 in January 2010, before falling to 19 in June 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon offshore explosion and blowout,” it reported.
The US GOM active offshore rig count recovered to 57 by December 2014, and currently the number is 33.