OSV overcapacity in the Gulf?

Gulf shipyards are bursting at the seams with OSVs. The newbuild OSV business for TY Offshore, Eastern, Bollinger, LEEVAC and other yards is good, and, based on their backlogs, it should stay that way into 2015.

At the International WorkBoat Show in December, TY CEO John Dane estimated that 61 high-spec DP OSVs were underway in the U.S. Since then, more OSV contracts have been announced.

Driving demand is a deepwater market that many feel is just entering a period of sustained growth. There are about 183 rigs under construction worldwide with 63 options through 2016. And, Dane said, “These rigs are all going to need boats.”

However, some small operators are worried about future overcapacity problems in the OSV market, pointing to Harvey Gulf and Hornbeck.

Both operators are stretching existing boats and building new ones at a steady pace.

Hornbeck is having six of its Super 200-class, DP-1 OSVs stretched 40′ and converted to DP-2 at Bollingerat a cost of $50 million. Redeliveries are scheduled for April, May, and two each in August and December. Hornbeck also announced that it is increasing its fifth OSV newbuild program by four vessels, to 24, and intends to build up to eight Jones Act-qualified multipurpose supply vessels. The MPSVs will service the Gulf subsea construction and inspection, repair and maintenance market that Hornbeck and others expect to significantly grow beginning in 2015.

Bollinger is also stretching five of the nine OSVs Harvey Gulf purchased from Bee Mar last year. The 210′ Busy Bee-class PSVs will be extended by 40′. Harvey Gulf also said it is close to announcing a deal to build two Jones Act-compliant offshore construction vessels — 328′ and 360′.

In addition, Aries Marine recently awarded a contract to LEEVAC Shipyards to build two DP-2, 270′ PSVs, and BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards will build two 252′ PSVs for Jackson Offshore Operators with options, rumored to already be exercised, to build two more.

If business continues to go well in the deepwater Gulf, then a glut in the high-spec DP-2 OSV market may not materialize. However, with some deliveries stretching into 2015, that means business must chug along until at least 2016. Only time will tell.

About the author

David Krapf

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.

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