Oil rigs operating off Africa rebound to highest in two years

By Paul Burkhardt on 6/8/2018

JOHANNESBURG (Bloomberg) -- Oil exploration in Africa is showing signs of recovery after the number of rigs off the continent rose to the highest in almost two years, with more scheduled in coming months.

The number of active offshore rotary rigs climbed to 17 in May from a record low of nine in 2017, according to data from Baker Hughes.

Africa-focused explorers such as Tullow Oil Plc cut their budgets to ride out the worst market slump in a generation. With Brent crude rebounding 15% this year as output cuts by OPEC and its allies eliminated a global glut, there is renewed appetite for searching under-explored basins.

Chariot Oil & Gas Ltd., a London-listed explorer, has contracted the Ocean Rig Poseidon to drill at least one well in Namibia by the end of the year, while Australia’s FAR Ltd. has also hired a drillship to explore a prospect off Gambia in late 2018. Total SA said in May that it expects to resume drilling South Africa’s first deepwater well by the end of this year or first-quarter 2019.

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