NEW YORK CITY – While rig utilization rates are down from a year ago, the offshore rig count is likely bottoming out according to Evercore’s Offshore Oracle report for December 2020.
The report notes that the global floater and jackup rig count was unchanged over the past month at 126 and 348, respectively, including 10 and 61 non-competitive rigs. At 73% for floaters and 80% for jackups, the marketed utilization is nearly 500 basis points (bps) and 650 bps lower than a year ago, the report said.
However, Evercore also says that it believes that the offshore rig count is likely bottoming as the working rig count edged up by three floaters and 11 jackups or about 4% each over the past month, driven by an uptick in activity in the Middle East and Mexico.
Evercore counted 22 floaters (5 Norway, 2 USA, 3 Suriname) and 27 jackups (4 Qatar, 3 UAE, 3 Thailand) commencing new contracts in the near-to-medium term, which is driving its +15% year-end 2021 floater count estimate.
Meanwhile, the firm’s “modest” +1% average jackup forecast for 2021 “could already be too light,” it said. Jackups accounted for all of the five rig contracts announced in December, with three contracts awarded for idled units that had only recently come off dayrate. In addition, demand appears to be picking up with open tenders for jackups increasing by seven this month.