Saudi Arabia is stepping up offshore drilling. Aramco began awarding contracts to develop key offshore fields earlier this year (MEES, 19 May) as it looks to offset declines elsewhere and maintain crude production capacity of around 12.5mn b/d.

And it is set to make several further awards imminently, “we would expect… before the end of this year,” David Dickson, CEO of US offshore engineering specialist McDermott told his firm’s Q3 earnings call on 1 November. The...