Lackluster demand continues for Gulf rig and OSV operators

The Gulf of Mexico rig market remains in the doldrums, with only 37 of 81 jackups under contract in July and only 30 working. In the deepwater market, 17 of 23 semisubmersibles were contracted but only 12 were working. All 11 Gulf drillships are contracted with only six working. These figures have been relatively unchanged since May, and there isn’t a lot on the horizon to indicate that the situation will change soon.

As a result, day rates for supply and crewboats are down across the board, though utilization is flat from the previous month except for large crewboats. Large supply vessels and crewboats saw the biggest erosion in rates. Rates for large suppliers fell an average $650 a day to $10,200 while larger crewboats fell an average of $151 a day from $3,866 the previous month. Average day rates for small supply vessels were about the same while rates for small crewboats dropped $60.

Ten months after the official lifting of the deepwater drilling moratorium not much is going on in the Gulf. (Though in early August, Shell did receive a drilling permit for a new well in its Europa field in the Gulf of Mexico that will allow it to put the last of its five deepwater rigs idled by the BP spill back to work.) Drilling contractors and industry associations continue to complain about the extremely slow permitting process. So far, not much has changed since the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement’s (BOEM) implementation of “significant improvements” to speed up the drilling permit application process. Drilling contractors have mobilized, or will mobilize, several semisubmersibles from the Gulf.

In August, however, BOEM said that since a permit applicant first successfully demonstrated containment capabilities in February, it has approved 90 deepwater permits for 27 unique wells, with 15 permits pending and 25 permits returned to the operator. 




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