This week, worldwide offshore rig utilization moved down slightly to 83.1% as one idle rig started working and two rigs came off contract. Both of these rigs are jackups that are going to be leaving the Gulf of Mexico and heading for the Persian Gulf where they will start working long-term contracts. The one idle rig that began work this week had been cold stacked and just came out of the shipyard after a 7 month reactivation stay.
An important component of the overall utilization picture is the ongoing maintenance and modifications that are performed on the world's offshore rigs on a regular basis. Whether rigs are undergoing major upgrades or in the shipyard for routine maintenance, a significant amount of rig time is spent in the maintenance yard.
Currently Under Modification
The United States currently has the most rigs that are undergoing modifications. Fully half of the world's jackups that are in the shipyard for maintenance are in the Gulf of Mexico. There are 15 jackups in GOM shipyards, and another 5 semisubs, for a total of 20 offshore rigs undergoing work in the Gulf of Mexico. Those 20 total rigs account for about 14% of the GOM jackup, semisub, and drillship fleet, and the 15 jackups account for just under 15% of the total GOM jackup fleet of 101 rigs.
Besides the Gulf of Mexico, a significant number of rigs are undergoing maintenance in the shipyards of Singapore. Currently, there are only 3 jackups in Singapore that are having modification work done on them (although there are 37 jackups under construction there), but there are an additional 4 semisubs and 4 drillships, for a total of 11 rigs under modification in the country. A particular focus in the area is upgrading floaters, as 3 semis and 1 drillship are expressly in the yards undergoing modifications to increase their water depths and place them amongst the deepwater floaters.
The United Arab Emirates is currently home to the largest group of jackups undergoing maintenance outside of the GOM. There are 5 jackups in the country's shipyards that are being worked on, including one Gulf Drilling mobile production unit that is being converted to a jackup drilling unit.
How's That Compare?
That percentage of rigs undergoing maintenance and repair work has historically been between 5 and 8 percent on a month-by-month basis for most of the last six years. So that during any given month from 2000 thru the first half of 2005, somewhere between 30 and 50 rigs were in the yards. The average number of rigs undergoing maintenance over the five-year period from August 2000 to 2005 was 39 rigs, or about 6.5% of the fleet.
Since the fourth quarter of 2005, the number of rigs in the shipyard for maintenance, modification and repair work has increased significantly. The reasons for this increase are two-fold:
Since September of last year, the percentage of the GOM fleet in the shipyard has been near or above 20% until just this month when it finally moved down to 17%. That is still exceptionally high for a region that has averaged about 5% of the fleet undergoing maintenance during any given month over the previous 5 years.
An added factor that will continue to drive increased shipyard time for GOM rigs is the MMS' recent release of new mooring guidelines for offshore rigs. Drilling contractors have been and are going to be sending more Gulf of Mexico rigs to the shipyards for upgrades in order to keep them compliant with these new requirements. This is particularly pressing for many of the fleet's semisub rigs and represents a significant investment of time and money.
More ominously, with the Gulf of Mexico hurricane season moving into its peak months, the potential for more rig damage and packed shipyards is high. If this August and September produce even half as many hurricane-damaged rigs as last year, the Gulf of Mexico's shipyards will be repairing more rigs than at any point in recent history.
For More Information on the Offshore Rig Fleet:
Most Popular Articles