Up to 30 deepwater oil and gas projects with subsea infrastructure tied into floating production systems will boost offshore energy investment this decade
This will increase demand for offshore drilling rigs, subsea construction ships and offshore support vessels (OSVs), according to classification society ABS.
ABS director of offshore vessel support sector lead Dr Wei Huang highlighted a positive forecast for offshore oil and gas developments in South America, deepwater projects in the Gulf of Mexico and future demand for OSVs from offshore renewables projects in the US at Riviera Maritime Media’s Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference.
“In 2020 there are positive signs for demand growth,” she said. “A bright spot is the outlook for growth in floating production units.”
She forecast there would be 28 floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) projects, with associated investment in subsea infrastructure, ordered by 2025 in Americas. Plus, there could be at least one semi-submersible and one spar-shaped floating production system ordered for US projects.
Dr Huang said 21 FPSOs could be ordered for Brazilian deepwater oil and gas projects, three in Guyana and three in Mexico, plus one on the east coast of Canada.
These projects will drive demand for mobile drilling rigs and associated support vessels for development wells. There would also be demand for subsea construction, pipelayers and support vessels.
“There is a slow market recovery, improving utilisation and better dayrates,” said Dr Huang.
Of the OSV fleet in South America, 63% are active, 12% are idle and 25% remain laid up. In North America only 53% of the fleet is active, 12% idle and 35% laid up.
Some of these vessels could be converted into vessels supporting future offshore windfarm projects in the US.
“In the US renewables market there are 26 GW of projects in the pipeline,” said Dr Huang. “With new developments involving fixed wind turbines on the east coast and possibly floating units on the west coast, there will be demand for construction and support vessels.”