Things are undoubtedly picking up in the Gulf of Mexico. Though far from the “boom” times of a few years ago, the improvement in the offshore market over the past several months can’t be ignored.
Though the change isn’t big by any means, it is a breath of fresh air considering what the offshore service vessel industry has been suffering through for well over a year. Consider this:
– Companies have begun unstacking OSVs.
– Day rates continue to rise, with average day rates up over $2,100 the past two months for OSVs over 200′ in length.
– The U.S. Gulf shelf rig market has been steadily gaining strength since November, due mainly to an increase in jackup activity.
– Since hitting a low of 16 in July, the number of working jackups in the Gulf has more than doubled, posting its seventh consecutive monthly increase in March. There are now 35 working jackups in the Gulf.
This is all good news to OSV operators on the shelf, who could use a break or two. The deepwater/ultradeepwater market also received a boost recently with March’s successful central Gulf lease sale held in New Orleans. There are also signs that demand for new-generation deepwater OSVs has strengthened. And for some icing on the cake, how about President Obama’s announcement to expand drilling that indicates that the administration may not be so anti-drill as many oil and gas and OSV operators had originally feared?
Here in New Orleans, we are getting ready for hurricane season. But for offshore operators, it appears that the worst of the storms have finally passed and the market is ready to continue its upward path.