Thinking about what I was seeing on a trip from Fourchon to Theodore to Amelia and back: two Seadrill drillships anchored (and apparently idle) seaward of the LOOP. Five Ensco rigs stacked west of the rabbit field. 30 boats pushed-up in the mud on the bayou, and another 30-40 larger OSVs tied-up in Flotation and Slips A and B. By my count (350 targets on AIS) that’s something like 20 percent or more of all the boats in Fourchon not working.
On the one hand, we’ve seen record lease sales in the GoM in the past year, and it looks like nearshore Atlantic waters will finally be opening up. Mexico is becoming a friendlier place to do business. As recently as a year ago, I was reading that there weren’t enough advanced drilling units to do the work that was waiting. Now day rates for those same units are about 60 percent of what they were a year ago (see the post in this same forum: http://www.gcaptain.com/forum/offshore/15530-seadrill-fall.html).
On the other hand, there has been a huge reshuffling of assets on the shelf with some of the established large independents and majors abandoning those fields. We have downward pressure on the price of oil from land-based production in the shale formations and from a strong dollar.
Meanwhile, it seems like the large boat companies – and a few of the smaller ones – are continuing an ambitious newbuild program.
One can assume that this industry will mirror every other industry in America and that the big Baby Boomer retirement exodus should have begun last year (and be continuing). But it looks like hiring has slowed and folks are moving around less than before. I base that in part on what appears to be a slowdown on hiring reports and job announcements on gCaptain (but of course that could be that gCaptain is simply much harder to access via mobile now than it was a year ago) but also what I see and hear among friends who also work out here.
All of this leaves me confused – and a little uneasy. I haven’t been out here long enough to remember the wholesale layoffs of the 1980s, but I’ve heard about them. Nor do I know enough about any of this to know if I’m truly seeing a slowdown or I’m just noticing more than I did when I was brand-new to the industry.
Thinking that the next maritime sector to see growth is the downstream end of the business – ATBs, tugs and barges, tankers – moving all that shale product out.
Anyone have any thoughts on the outlook for mariners in the Gulf?