Drilling in Gulf countries rose in October to the highest figure this year. The figure of 404 active drilling rigs, largely based on Baker Hughes data, is just shy of the record 414 set in mid-2014 at the height of Iraq’s drilling boom. Iraqi drilling has since more than halved, falling to just 42 in October.

But key GCC monarchies ramped-up their drilling campaigns, reaching a combined all-time record of 305 rigs.

In Abu Dhabi, increased offshore production is core to plans to boost...