Drillers see positive signs in rig markets

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MARKET prospects continue to improve for Maersk Drilling’s rig fleet, according to the company’s latest results statement.

Market prospects continue to improve for Maersk Drilling’s rig fleet, according to the company’s latest results statement.

During 1Q 2021, there was increased activity in the North Sea jackup sector, with average demand for 23 rigs, up from 20 in 4Q 2020. The average marketed supply remained unchanged at 37 rigs.

At the end of 1Q, the one-year forward contract coverage for North Sea jackups had risen to 43%, up from 34% in 4Q 2020, suggesting that an increasing share of the available jackup capacity in the North Sea is contracted for the next 12 months.

In the Norwegian sub-segment, however, demand looks set to remain relatively flat in 2021, with few tendered opportunities for commencement in 2022.  But the long-term outlook for the Norwegian jackup market remains stable with a substantial pipeline of subsea development projects in prospect in shallow waters.

As for the global floating rig market, average demand rose in 1Q to 105 rigs, while the average marketed supply fell slightly to 166 rigs, an average marketed utilization of 63%.

Demand for floaters should rise further toward 2022, but still with excess capacity holding back the pace of the recovery. And although some floaters were scrapped in 1Q 2021, more rationalizations will be needed to achieve a more favourable market balance, the company concluded.

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