Landmines Slow Down Nabors Rig Deployments in Iraq

Source: Reuters 7/27/2011, Location: Middle East

Nabors Industries Ltd is banking on oil and gas drilling in Saudi Arabia and Iraq to underpin growth next year, but the world's largest land-rig contractor faces especially tough obstacles in Iraq. Gene Isenberg, the industry veteran who runs Nabors, said equipment and skilled labor shortages are big challenges in the country on top of the dangerous legacy of many years of war.

"In some cases, we had to wait actually for land mines to be cleared before work commences," the 81-year-old chief executive told analysts on a call to discuss the Bermuda-based company's quarterly results. Nabors expects five of its rigs to be working in Iraq by the end of this year, with that number doubling in 2012.

Isenberg credited the sustained, hands-on efforts of the president of Nabors International, Siegfried "Siggi" Meissner, for overcoming the many logistical challenges. "He's been there a lot, and it's starting to pay off," Isenberg said. While he did not mention any names of clients, Nabors said last year that its partnership with Iraq Drilling Co would offer inroads for getting work in the country.

In its traditional home market of North America, Nabors is adding pressure-pumping capacity to meet burgeoning demand from oil and gas firms developing shale resources. It anticipates having well over 700,000 horsepower of capacity by the end of the quarter, up from 600,000 horsepower in the second quarter.


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