The last two years have not been good ones for companies that support offshore drilling. A sluggish global economy, shifting regulatory environments, and a major oversupply of ships created a down market for operators of offshore support vessels (OSVs). Environmental concerns raised by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico also depressed the market.

However, a survey conducted by Dunia Frontier Consultants in September and October 2011 revealed growing optimism for the near-term future of the OSV industry. Dunia interviewed over two dozen OSV providers, shipbrokers, and oil majors in the Middle East, West Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States. The survey revealed key insights into expected growth areas for the OSV market, including the growing ultra-deepwater drilling market, increased offshore exploration and drilling in Brazil and West Africa, and the segmentation of demand for types of ships.

With the global offshore drilling market recovering (as highlighted in this article) OSV firms that offer larger, more modern vessels that are adequately equipped to support deepwater drilling will be especially well-positioned. At the same time, however, these companies will face more stringent requirements from oil majors, and will need to flexibly operate across the globe rather than focus on specific regions. Smaller firms unable to cope with this new paradigm may be forced to sell off their fleets or be snapped up by larger players.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 at 10:26 pm