Offshore Drilling Demand Rebounds, Drilling Rents About to Surpass $500,000 Mark
According to a recent report by energy research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, the global offshore drilling market is continuing to experience a significant rebound, with rig utilization now returning to pre-pandemic levels, resulting in a 40% increase in rates over the past year. The report also predicts a further surge in demand of 20% from 2024 to 2025.
This surge has pushed day rates for the most advanced rigs in ultra-deepwater to the $500,000 mark.
The report highlights a rebound in active buoy utilization in recent years, rising from a low of 65% in 2018 to more than 85% by 2023. Additionally, the number of ultra-deepwater (UDW) benign (i.e., non-harsh environment) rigs contracted has returned to pre-COVID levels, while day rates for top pontoons have doubled over the past two years.
Rising oil prices over the past year have been the catalyst for a rebound in the offshore oil and gas market following an eight-year industry downturn.
"Rising oil prices, concerns about energy security, and the discharge advantages of deepwater support the ramp-up of deepwater developments and, to some extent, exploration," said Leslie Cook, principal analyst at Wood Mackenzie. "There is now buoyant supply and demand More consistently, rigs are cash flow positive. We expect demand to continue to rise."
Wood Mackenzie predicts that a significant portion of future demand growth will come from the "Golden Triangle" region, which includes Latin America, North America and Africa, as well as parts of the Mediterranean. These regions are expected to account for 75% of global floating rig demand by 2027.