The Adipec oil and gas conference took place between 1-4 November in Abu Dhabi and the general mood among the thousands of exhibitors and delegates from the industry was a positive one. 

The stands belonging to the ‘big four’ oil field services companies of the US’ Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Weatherford were busy as people queued up to shake hands with senior decision-makers.

Prospects are definitely looking up for the big four at the moment and the reason is Iraq. They, together with local Oil Serv, are the only oil field services companies being allowed to bid for work on the existing oil fields in the Gulf state.

After spending so much money on licensing rounds, the international oil companies need to ramp up production on the Iraq fields and the quickest way to do it is to give the work to the services companies on a turnkey basis. By taking on such a risky venture, the big four and Oil Serv are hoping that it puts them in an enviable position when the market opens up fully.

Working in Iraq is risky in many ways, but developing these oil fields is about as close as you can get to a sure thing in the country. The industry knows that developing Iraq’s hydrocarbons reserves is real and it is happening. That’s why the big four’s stands were so popular at Adipec.

With Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia becoming quieter as they reach their production targets, the whole of the upstream oil and gas industry is relying on Iraq to drive regional revenues for the next 10 to 20 years.

That is where the big four are going and the rest are queuing up to follow.