People who read my blog on a regular basis know that I am all for energy independence, particularly from tyrannical governments in the Middle East that have used their abundance of oil and gas as a hammer against the U.S. — a country they would like to see destroyed.

Gee, I wonder why that bothers me.


I bring this up because I read two columns yesterday that give me hope that the U.S. could move further away from having to deal with anti-U.S. governments in order to meet our own energy demands. Both columns will appear in the February issue of WorkBoat.

In Bill Pike’s “OSV Day Rates” column, he cites two recent market reports from Douglas-Westwood, a global energy industry research and consulting group, that predict that 2014 would be a good year. For example, there will be 39 deepwater rigs coming off their contracts and looking for a place to land. Now, not all of them will come to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, but it’s a safe bet that some of them will end up there.

“Add in the potential activity from the projected opening of Mexico’s deepwater GOM provinces, and there appears to be little reason to worry about deepwater rig utilization rates,” Pike says in his column.

The other Douglas-Westwood report deals with the rig maintenance, modifications and operations services market where up to $672 billion is expected to be spent on such services, worldwide, over the next four years. “Spending during the 2014-2018 period will be led by Asia, with 30 percent of global expenditures in the market, compared to North America’s 27 percent,” says Pike.

If you like that news, wait until you read Kevin Horn's February “Inland Insider” column in WorkBoat.

Horn talks about the new energy boom, “the emergence of a domestic energy revolution” in his column. He claims that a “major structural change is under way to the fundamental economic underpinning of our economy. It will cut across all sectors just like the OPEC oil cartel’s affect on oil prices in the 1970s.”

Wow. But this will only be temporary, right? Not according to Horn.

“Some idea of the strength of the current energy boom is the relatively small increase in natural gas prices recently in response to record breaking cold weather that has affected some parts of the U.S.,” he says. “The next 40 years of energy in the U.S. will be very different from the last 40.

You can read the entire columns in the February issue of WorkBoat. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to read them more than once.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.