NEW YORK – The number of approved US offshore drilling permits has moved upward for a third consecutive month, according to Evercore ISI’s latest US Drilling Permit Monthly Report.
Although down 49% year-over-year, October’s Gulf of Mexico permit numbers totaled 16 new permits. That number represents a 60% sequential growth from 10 in September.
Deepwater permitting activity showed the strongest bounce back from last month, the update found, with two new wells and four bypass projects permitted. New well permits held flat quarter-over-quarter at six: There were two incremental adds in ultra-deepwater and one in deepwater, from one in September to two in October.
October’s side track permits totaled four, compared to three in September. Once again, the analyst firm cautioned that the sharpest decline year-over-year has been the shallow-water permitting, down 71% from this time last year. No new well permits were issued for shallow-water wells, down 85% from 2014.
The analyst noted that offshore drilling will continue to show depressed activity as long as shallow water permits remain at historically low levels.
The group updated on another bright spot for the market. “Offshore planning suggests some positivity moving forward, with BHP Billiton filing 28 well permits from midwater work in 1H 2017.
“Overall, we remain cautious in allocating optimism to the offshore space, but permitting trends have certainly shown upward momentum over the past three months,” the update continued.