NEW YORK – Evercore ISI’s Oilfield Services, Equipment & Drilling group recently released its updated monthly Offshore Rig Market Snapshot report. A total of 11 new contracts have been announced so far this month, well below a revised 34 as of mid-December, the analyst found.
CNOOC renewed 24 rigs on Dec. 1, comprising 19 jackups and five floaters, and three other operators (BG, NIOC, and Saudi Aramco) signed term contracts for three jackups in the Middle East and Asia. Overall, jackups accounted for 32 of 42 contracts last month, dominating for the 14th consecutive month, with terms averaging 310 days versus 224 days for 10 floater contracts.
Day rates will revise higher for three jackups: ENSCO 68 in the Gulf of Mexico, ENSCO 122 in the UK North Sea, and Seadrill’s AOD III in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, floater rates continue to trend lower, with the Pacific Scirocco securing a one-well contract offshore Guinea at $225,000/d, from $455,000/d/ previously.
Of the 11 contracts awarded so far this month, seven are for jackups and four are for floaters.
Evercore ISI observed a possible notable rate change. North Atlantic Drilling recently confirmed a one-well contract for the West Phoenix; however, IHS-Petrodata reported the harsh deepwater semisubmersible was awarded the approximately 170-day contract from Nexen on Nov. 7, 2016.
Assuming the $17-million backlog is for 170 days from March 31 to Nov. 16, the implied $100.6kpd rate is 31% lower than the previous $145,000/d rate with Total for 90 days and establishes a new floor in the UK North Sea.
Meanwhile, two of the 11 contracts secured this month were for jackups to terms of more than one year, with the ENSCO 80 to Repsol in the UK North Sea for 541 days at an undisclosed day rate and Gulf Drilling International’s Al-Khor to Shell in Qatar for two years at an undisclosed option price.
In comparison to recent years, 2017 is tracking below the 22 contracts received as of this point in 2014 and 20 in 2013.
The firm also provided a fleet operations update. The deepwater semisubmersible M.G. Hulme, Jr. and jackup Rowan Gorilla III were both retired late last year, bringing the industry total to 24 floaters and 18 jackups vs. 30 floaters and 11 jackups retired in 2015.
Meanwhile, three newbuild floaters were accepted all of last year (the Ocean GreatWhite, Songa Enabler, and Deepwater Conqueror), down from 15 in 2015, as the global supply of floating rigs fell for the second consecutive year to 286.
On the jackup side, newbuilds outpaced retirements for a fourth straight year, but four of the 20 newbuilds accepted have yet to commence work. For 2017, 30 newbuild floaters and 79 newbuild jackups are currently scheduled to be delivered. Evercore said it believes that several of these newbuilds will be deferred, noting the Ocean Rig Amorgos was recently postponed to April 2021 from October 2019 versus the original delivery date of June 2017.
Contract coverage for 2017 improved by 290 basis points (bps) to 38% for the global floater fleet and 430 bps to 35% for the global jackup fleet.
Within Evercore’s coverage universe, Diamond Offshore led with a 540 bps improvement in its floater coverage over the past month, to 43% due to a 12-well abandonment contract from BHP Billiton for the Ocean Monarch, estimated to last 80 days from April through September. At 43%, Diamond now ties Seadrill for first place on its 2017 floater coverage, but Seadrill ties Rowan for third place on the jackup side, due to the 520/490/420 bps pick-up in its 2017/2018/2019 jackup coverage from the AOD III extension. Noble continues to lead with 70% of its 2017 jackup days contracted, followed by Ensco 48%, while Seadrill and Rowan are at 46%.
Evercore noted that it continues to expect the offshore cyclical downturn to break in 2017, with deepwater and shallow-water rig counts, day rates, and utilization bottoming and operators accelerating the pace of offshore development and equipment and services contracting. Its expectations for the offshore subsector “remains relatively modest however, as the duration of the bottoming process will depend greatly on the oil price through the first half of the year.”