Offshore boom will boost equipment suppliers

Recent deep-water discoveries combined with a shortage of drilling vessels should make for a booming year for offshore equipment supplies, a Barclay’s report said Monday.

Platform and rig builders are struggling to keep up with the demand for offshore drilling rigs, as exploration throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and Africa continues to grow. Many offshore projects are moving from exploration to production, further increasing the demand for offshore equipment.

“We anticipate roughly 80 jackups and 50 floaters (drillships) will be delivered into the offshore market over the next two years and expect that relatively few of these units will displace rigs currently working,” Barclays wrote.

About 40 percent of the 50 drillships have been contracted out through 2014, a further indication of a growing demand for the equipment that will be needed for drilling.

The increase in activity should shake loose additional financing, Barclay’s said, enabling service companies to make needed investments in additional drilling rigs.

Petrobras, for example, has 29 new deep-water rigs scheduled to go into operation in the next six months, several of which still need equipment. National Oilwell Varco, which  posted a 16 percent increase in earnings last quarter, has benefited as one of the main equipment suppliers for new Petrobras rigs. These contracts also give it an edge on the remaining contracts, although  Cameron, one of the leading blowout preventer  suppliers, and Aker Solutions also expect to win some of the work, Barclay’s said.