THERE are indications that oil and gas exploration in Nigeria dropped significantly, as the rig count fell by 49.5 per cent to 53 in the first eight months (January-August) of 2021, from 105, recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
The rig count, a major index for measuring the level of activities, especially exploration in the upstream oil sector, was obtained from the report of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.
The report attributed the development to the Coronavirus pandemic and relatively low crude oil prices as major factors that discouraged investors from investing during the period.
It was also partly attributed to the prolonged delay associated with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law.
Like Nigeria, the rig count of some other African oil and gas producing countries also showed significant changes during the period.
For instance, the rig count of Algeria dropped to 191 in 2021, from 271 recorded in the corresponding period of 2020, indicating a decrease of 29.5 per cent.
However, the rig counts of Libya and Angola rose to 32 and 114, from 26 and 101 respectively, during the period, showing an increase of 12.8 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.