World Rig Market Improves While Gulf of Mexico Continues Downswing

The U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore rig market continues to worsen in terms of both rig utilization and day rates, but other rig market segments remain strong.

According to Thomas E. Marsh of the ODS-Petrodata Group, fleet utilization for Gulf of Mexico 250-foot to 300-foot rated jackup drilling rigs has fallen to 51 percent, its lowest level in nine years.

"Jackup day rates have followed the rig count down. The near-term outlook is not encouraging; rig demand in the region is expected to continue to decline."

In contrast to the situation in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, North Sea jackup utilization has remained stable at about 95 percent over the last two months. Day rates for the North Sea competitive non-harsh environment jackup fleet has improved. Based on current known contract commitments and potential contract options, this group of jackup rigs should enjoy relatively stable utilization at least into the first quarter of next year,"

Worldwide deepwater rig demand remains strong. Every available deepwater rig in the competitive fleet is under contract or committed, and fleet utilization is 100 percent.