Gulf of Mexico will be strongest offshore market, analysts say

The deepwater Gulf of Mexico is poised for a strong comeback, with the number of floating rigs growing from about 36 today to 60 in 2015, analysts at the International Strategy and Investment Group forecast.

In its recently released report, “U.S. Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Outlook: Rising Up From the Ashes,” the investment firm projects that companies will drill about 70 development wells in 2015, triple the number drilled this year and the highest level since 2002. The activity surge would mark a rapid rebound from the catastrophic rig explosion and oil spill at BP’s Macondo well in 2010, which temporarily crippled drilling activity in the region.

“After essentially being left for dead following the devastating Macondo blow out, we believe the deepwater Gulf of Mexico is in the early stages of an extended growth cycle and is poised to be the strongest offshore market in the world through 2015,” the ISI researchers wrote.

Read more: Gulf of Mexico poised for resurgence in 2013

Following the oil spill, the total number of rigs in the Gulf of Mexico plummeted from 55 to 12 in just two months. The total rig count has since rebounded to about 48, according to the Baker Hughes rig count.

The ISI report notes that the development of major deepwater projects in the Gulf have led the early resurgence, including Anadarko’s Lucius and Chevron’s Big Foot and Jack/St Malo projects.