Global Offshore Drilling Pace Continues to Gather Steam

Fleet Composition

A current global snapshot reveals that there are 760 offshore rigs divided into two main types (277 floaters and 483 jackups) within the competitive fleet. The table above details the type of rig, the water-depth accommodated, and current region where these rigs operate. The highest concentration of shallow water rigs is located in the Middle East, which hosts nearly 31 percent of the total mix or 149 jackup rigs. From a highest contracted percentage, the best performing region is the North Sea, where 93 percent or 39 of 42 jackup rigs are leased. But the most active region for jackups falls back to the Middle East where 114 rigs are now under contract.

Latin America with 80 rigs leads the pack in terms of where the most deepwater rigs reside .  Two regions, the North Sea and SE Asia, are tied for second.  Each has 41 floaters occupying their respective waters. Of the two, the North Sea is putting a greater percentage to work with 95 percent (39 of 41 floaters under contract). Australia/Asia Pacific and Latin America (predominantly Brazil) boast perfect utilization rates in their regions with 16 and 80 floaters under contract, respectively. The next table highlights specific utilization rates by type of rig and region.

Utilization by Type and Water Depth


Transocean's Deepwater Champion, an ultra-deepwater drillship, currently possesses the highest dayrate at $690 k/day and is operating in the Black Sea. The Champion's rate, along with rigs working in remote locations, skews the average for UDW floaters in the "Other" row. The average dayrate for all 248 floaters in operation is the mid-$380s. On a region-by-region basis, West Africa, the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea are all posting strong dayrate averages for their floating fleets.

Dayrates by Type and Water Depth

Rowan Stavanger, currently drilling in the North Sea, commands the highest dayrate for a jackup at $340k/day. Given the harsh environment and stricter standards, it is not surprising to find the highest jackup dayrates in the North Sea region at an average in the mid-$150s. The average dayrate for all 348 jackups currently under contract is the high-$100s. Besides the North Sea, rigs operating in Australia/Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East are all currently posting dayrates that exceed the global average for jackups.

Looking to the Future

Beginning last fall, the offshore drilling industry kicked off a rig construction campaign that nowone year lateris approaching 100 offshore rigs on order. The delivery dates for these 52 jackups and 41 floaters are expected between July 2012 and January 2018. Given that option's outstanding numbernearly 50 rigs (40 percent floaters, 60 percent jackups)it is easy to see why the overall rig market could top 900 units in the next five years, even with some attrition.

Global Offshore Rig Demand (annual averages)

We continue to hear market commentary that points towards tightening rig demand. This is a definite contrast to the swelling apprehension globally regarding economic concerns. Our own internal independent forecasts for rig demand support the view of a sustained, albeit anemic, global recovery. The recent jobs data does not change our view. Overall we are anticipating that rig demand will grow 10 percent on average during 2012. Furthermore, 2013 looks to be the year where we see sustained drilling efforts using more than 600 rigs throughout the world.

If you would like to purchase our most recent RigOutlook Offshore Demand report that details all our offshore forecasts on a monthly basis for the next three years, then please email us at


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