July 3, 2008 / 10:03 AM / 9 years ago

Deep water rig fleet to double - Schlumberger

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MADRID, July 3 (Reuters) - The world's fleet of oil rigs capable of drilling in deep waters, which are currently in short supply, will double in the coming years, the chief executive of the world's largest oil services company said on Thursday.

Schlumberger (SLB.N) CEO Andrew Gould said around 160 new rigs are currently under construction.

"Sixty eight is the deep water and the interesting thing is that it doubles the size of the deep water fleet," Gould told reporters at the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress.

Tightness in the rig market has contributed to high oil prices by delaying many companies' drilling plans and the startup of new fields. Rig hire rates have also soared.

As easy-to-access oil fields deplete, new production increasingly relies on companies developing fields far offshore such as in the Gulf of Mexico. (Reporting by Tom Bergin; Editing by Paul Bolding)

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