Production floater orders continue to rise

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 28
-- International Maritime Associates Inc., Washington, DC, forecasts the oil and gas industry adding 120-175 floating production systems during the next 5 years.

It notes that currently 250 units are installed, which is more than double the 120 units installed in 2001. Order backlog that now stands at 47 will increase by another 20% during the next several years, it said.

IMA identified 194 projects in the planning stage that are likely to require a floating production system. Of these, 55 are at the bidding or final design stage, with equipment orders likely during the next 12-18 months. Another 139 projects are in the planning or study stage, with orders likely in 2013-19.

IMA expects orders for production floaters to average 24-35 units/year during the next 5 years, with about 80% of the units being floating production, storage, and offloading vessels. Between 2011 and 2016, IMA estimates that capital expenditures for floaters will be $80-115 billion.

Its base scenario for the forecast assumes an oil price of $90-100/bbl.

For the long term, IMA does not see a slowdown in orders because deepwater fields are among the major sources of hydrocarbons yet to be found or developed.

It notes that while no one knows the full extent of deepwater potential, the magnitude is undoubtedly huge, such as in Brazil alone estimates are that deepwater presalt resources contain 70 billion boe, an amount that will likely grow as more finds are confirmed.

Another estimate made by some is that deepwater resources off Brazil, West Africa, and elsewhere will provide almost 14 million boe/d by 2030, more than double the current contribution to global supply, IMA said.

According to Jim McCaul, head of IMA, future growth indicators in the floating production sector are hugely positive because global demand for oil continues to grow, the market is again threatened by Middle East and North Africa supply disruptions, oil prices have pierced $100/bbl, and virtually every major field operator has announced plans to increase offshore exploration and development expenditures.

McCaul also notes that deepwater drilling rigs now being built will add 38% to available drilling capacity, removing constraints on deepwater exploration.



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