Northwest European offshore oil and gas exploration activity lags previous year levels by 37 percent with only 40 exploration wells started so far this year compared with 64 at this point in 1989, consultants Arthur Andersen said.
They said in their weekly well report that appraisal activity too was down 44 percent on 1998, with 14 spuds, compared with 25 last year.
"This is due mainly to the large decrease in appraisal spuds in the UK, where the number of wells drilled is down 65 percent on last year," Arthur Andersen said.
In Denmark and the Netherlands
, appraisal activity was actually up on last year while in Norway, it was only slightly lower.
The number of active oil and gas rigs operating in all sectors of northwest Europe for the week ending Sept. 8 totaled 45 rigs, up from 41 in the week ending Aug. 25.
There were 23 rigs drilling in the UK sector, up two from the previous week, while Norway was up one rig with 15. The Netherlands was unchanged with four rigs while Ireland and Denmark were
steady with one rig each.