Industry at a glance ///

Anticipating growth in the world economy, OPEC boosted its world oil demand forecast to an average 81.79 MM bopd by the end of the year. Last month, the estimation was 81.58 MM bopd. Saudi Arabia produced about 9.5 MM bopd in September. This is roughly 250,000 bopd below previous estimates. Norwegian production is steadily in decline, dropping 350,000 bopd since the start of the year. Nigerian crude output slowly increased by 50,000 bpd, despite continued violence in the Niger Delta. Demand for mobile offshore drilling units in the Gulf of Mexico remains down while rig demand offshore Europe is steady. Worldwide, about 84% of offshore rigs are under contract. In September 2003, Baker Hughes' average GOM rig count was 109, but a year later, that figure is down to 91. Brent Blend rose slightly in September, to average $43.54/bbl. As happened last year, with a 56-rig drop, Canada's rotary rig count dipped from 348 in August to 270 in September.

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