Energy demand good for Gulf workboat market

 The worldwide demand for energy is increasing, and the offshore workboat industry in the Gulf of Mexico is going to be a part of that increase.
That was the message delivered by an industry heavyweight at WorkBoat’s Executive Summit held the day before the start of the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans in November.
“Demand for energy is up around the world,” Jeffrey M. Platt, chief operating officer, Tidewater Inc., told the Summit audience. “Things are starting to right themselves.”
In the recent past, about 95 percent of Tidewater’s offshore service vessel fleet has worked outside of the Gulf of Mexico. However, drilling equipment is expected to move into the Gulf within the next year and beyond, and that equipment will need to be serviced by supply boats and crewboats. Platt said Tidewater would move its equipment wherever there are opportunities for the company to grow. “Boats are very, very tight on a world basis right now,” he said. “We have the largest fleet in the world.”
There was a buzz at the Summit concerning Hornbeck Offshore’s recent order for 16 new 300-class DP-2 platform supply boats for the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
Platt said Tidewater has 40 vessels under construction worldwide and expects to have a totally recapitalized fleet by 2015. Yet he warned that it is imperative that boat construction be kept on a tight budget. “We’re a conservative company,” he said. “If we overpay for a boat, we can’t get out from underneath it.”
Platt also warned that when the market in the Gulf improves, an old adversary would again make its appearance: finding enough workers to build and operate the boats. “We’ve had manning issues as long as I’ve been with Tidewater,” he said. “The industry, as a whole, we have to grow our own.”

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