Report: 103 to 130 Floating Production Systems Over Next 5 Years

Monday, March 13, 2006
A new study by IMA calls for a major ramp up in orders for floating production systems over the next five years. The 125 page report issued in March provides a detailed forecast of the number of FPSOs, TLPs, Semis, Spars and FSOs needed through 2010 to satisfy increasing development of deepwater fields. The capital expenditure associated with these orders is also forecast.

Current Inventory — There are now 179 floating production systems in operation worldwide. The figure has grown 203% over the past ten years. FPSO vessels comprise 61 percent of the current total, production semis 21 percent, tension leg platforms 10 percent and production spars 8 percent. Another 82 floating storage vessels (without production capability) are now operating, 4 of which are used for LPG storage.

Order Backlog — Currrent order backlog is the highest since we began tracking orders in 1996. There are 46 floating production units now on order, consisting of 32 FPSOs, 3 TLPs, 6 production semis, 2 production spars and 3 production barges. In addition, 7 floating storage units and 3 jack-up MOPUs are being built or converted. More than 30 facilities worldwide are presently involved in fabricating floating production units, which is the greatest number of players we have seen in the past ten years.

Underlying Market Drivers — The underlying market conditions are very strong. Global demand for oil is growing at a 2.1% annual rate. Energy supply remains tight, with downside risk of supply interruptions the prominent concern. The futures market is forecasting crude prices in the $60+/bbl area and natural gas in the $8-9/MMbtu range at the end of the decade. Most oil companies are planning to significantly increase capex budgets for E&P activity over the next several years. Rig utilization is extremely high, pushing 100% in some areas. Rig rates are going through the roof as field operators try to secure equipment for exploration and development drilling.

Near Term Projects Being Planned — We have identified 97 projects currently in the bidding, design or planning stage that potentially require floating production or storage systems. These are essentially projects off West Africa, Brazil, Southeast Asia, China, Northern Europe and in the Gulf of Mexico that appear likely to move to development over the next two or three years. If all materialize, they would generate a requirement for 91 additional production floaters and at least 8 floating storage units.

Redeployments to Grow —Many current fields will reach end of life over the next five years and the production units will be available for reuse. Of the 109 FPSOs in service, 55 have been on field for more than five years and of the 52 leased units, 30 have firm contracts with end date by 2010.

Redeployed FPSOs or production semis have been used to start up about 50 fields over the past 30 years, accounting for around 18% of field start-ups during this period. Our analysis indicates that redeployments will satisfy 25 to 30% of new floater developments over the next five years. Long Term Outlook for Equipment Orders —

We see orders for 103 to 130 production floaters over the next five years. This figure includes 75 to 95 additional units that will be purpose-built or converted from existing hulls and 28 to 35 redeployments of existing units. These orders are expected to generate capital expenditures of $35 to 44 billion over the five year period. In addition, orders for 25 to 35 FSOs will generate another $1.5 billion in conversion/construction capex.

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