Photo: Maersk Valiant drillship; Source: Maersk Drilling

Utilisation for 7th-gen drillships now close to full capacity, Maersk says

Demand for offshore drilling rigs has increased and the global floater market will continue to benefit from an ongoing recovery, Maersk Drilling, an offshore drilling contractor, has said.

The rig owner said in its 2Q 2022 report on Friday that the utilisation across both floater and jack-up segments continued to trend upwards during the quarter, primarily as a result of increased demand, especially for global floaters. Simultaneously, the number of marketed units continued to decrease across both segments, leading to significant increases in marketed utilisation that has now reached multi-year highs.

According to Maersk, the global floater market showed a noticeable uptick in activity with average demand significantly increasing to 120 units (1Q 2022: 103 units), while the average marketed supply decreased to 164 units (1Q 2022: 167), driving a meaningful improvement in the average marketed utilisation to 72 per cent (1Q 2022: 62 per cent), the highest it has been since 2015.

Maersk Drilling
Source: Maersk Drilling

At the end of 2Q 2022, the one-year forward contract coverage for the global floater market improved to 49 per cent (1Q 2022: 48 per cent) and remains at the highest level seen since 2015.

Maersk believes that, supported by oil and gas prices that have stabilised at multi-year highs, as well as significant capacity having been removed since the last cyclical downturn in 2020, the global floater market is well-positioned to continue to benefit from an ongoing recovery in day rates and utilisation.

Demand continues to increase, while utilisation for seventh-generation drillships is now close to full capacity, driven by tight markets in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, West Africa, and South-East Asia.

Forward contract coverage and marketed utilisation are now at the highest levels seen since 2015, while the average marketed supply of floaters has continued to decrease. Given current requirements, demand for global floaters is expected to increase in 2022 and beyond.

Source: Maersk Drilling

North Sea jack-up market

The North Sea jack-up market saw an increase in activity with average demand growing to 30 units (1Q 2022: 28 units), while the average marketed supply decreased to 35 units (1Q 2022: 37 units), driving an increase in average marketed utilisation to 85 per cent (1Q 2022: 76 per cent), the highest it has been since 2015.

At the end of 2Q 2022, the one-year forward contract coverage for North Sea jack-ups increased slightly to 42 per cent (end of 1Q 2022: 39 per cent) reflecting that an increasing share of available jack-up rig capacity in the North Sea is contracted in the coming 12 months. This was due to an uptick in activity for North Sea jack-ups as well as the exit of certain rigs from the market bound for the Middle East.