North Sea Rig Utilization Slips to 68.6% in April

North Sea rig utilization slipped to 68.6% in April from 70% in March, according to Platts North Sea Letter data. The drop reflects the lack of demand for standard specification jack-ups, which has outweighed an improving market for the heavy-duty jack-up segment and for semi-submersibles. The heavy-duty market has seen strong demand, but has also been influenced by supply-side factors; a legal dispute over the Maersk XL2 newbuild is likely to prevent the rig's delivery to the North Sea for some time, while the Maersk Giant will leave for Egypt in July.

Utilization of semi-submersibles has increased and is expected to rise further into the summer months. Of the 14 semis idle in ports around the North Sea, four have contracts lined up, seven are cold-stacked and two are ready stacked. This means the number of available rigs actively being marketed is quite low. Platt's North Sea Letter rig market editor Ross McCracken said "the market is fairly well balanced, but any upturn in demand might mean rigs coming out of cold-stack".

The North Sea area is taken to include the UK, Norwegian, Dutch, Danish, Irish, German, French, Spanish and Faroese sectors, excluding the Mediterranean.