With many oil and gas companies struggling to stay afloat amid the current market situation, exploration activity in the country has suffered a decline as the number of active rigs fell by 33.33 per cent in July.Data obtained by our correspondent from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries showed that Nigeria’s rig count fell to six in July from nine in June. The rig count, which stood at 21 in March, fell to 16 in April and eight in May. The rig count is largely a reflection of the level of exploration, development and production activities occurring in the oil and gas sector. The global oil benchmark, Brent crude, plunged to as low as $15.98 per barrel in April, its lowest since June 1999. It traded around $45 per barrel on Monday. Analysts at Financial Derivatives Company Limited said on Monday that oil price volatility would continue in the coming weeks due to supply and demand concerns. “The relaxation of output cuts by two million barrels per day in August will keep oil prices within the $42-$45 per barrel band,” they said in a report. The collapse in crude oil demand and prices occasioned largely by the coronavirus pandemic has forced many operators to put exploration on the back burner. Punch