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Land rig growth seen at 5%/year through 2016

Global growth in land rig demand will average 5%/year in 2012-2016, expanding the rig fleet to more than 11,000 units from the 9,700 in service today, said a worldwide study by Douglas-Westwood Ltd., Canterbury, UK.

An estimated 66% of active rig demand will come from regions outside North American by 2016, the study indicated. The growth is to be driven by the increasing volume and complexity of well requirements in order to meet global production targets.

Countries such as Kazakhstan, Mexico, and Oman are likely to witness declines, while others such as China, Colombia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the US are expected to see an increase in the number of rigs required.

Follow-on investments in new rig construction and the updating of current fleets (which have experienced underinvestment over the last three decades) will be necessary to meet the increased level of demand forecast for 2016, Douglas-Westwood said.

Calum Shaw, a coauthor of “World Land Drilling Rig Market Forecast 2012-2016,” said, “Increases in demand for hydrocarbons are expected to drive growth in drilling activity in countries such as China, India, and Iraq, for example, while continuing investment in enhanced oil recovery techniques in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are expected to boost productivity in some of the world’s largest maturing fields.

“Exploration and development of unconventional gas resources, throughout the forecast period, are likely to support a strong activity increase in North America, Poland, and Australia, among others. Drilling continues to recover strongly from the economic downturn in 2009,” Shaw said.

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