Planned Floating Production Projects at An All-Time High

Monday, October 08, 2012

IMA has just completed an in-depth analysis of the floating production sector. The 175 page report Floating Production Systems: Assessment of the Outlook for FPSOs, Semis, TLPs, Spars, FLNGs, FSRUs and FSOs is the 47th in a series of IMA reports on the deepwater production sector that began in 1996. Some highlights from the new report are below.
Order backlog for production floaters at all-time high – 74 production floaters are currently on order. This number is 40% higher than the backlog a year ago – and more than double the backlog in mid-2009. The closest to this backlog was in mid-2007 when 67 units were on order. (See Chart 1)
Current order backlog consists of 49 FPSOs, 6 production semis, 3 TLPs, 4 spars, 3 FLNGs and 9 FSRUs. In the backlog are 40 units utilizing purpose-built hulls and 34 units based on converted tanker hulls. Of the production floaters being built, 42 are owned by field operators, 32 are being supplied by leasing contractors. Brazil continues to dominate orders for production floaters. 28 units are being built for use offshore Brazil – 38% of the order backlog.
Planned floater projects have almost doubled over past five years – The growth in number of floating production projects has been dramatic. 233 projects potentially requiring a floating production or storage system are now in the planning stage. A year ago, 196 projects were being planned. Five years ago, the figure was 122 projects. (See Chart 2)
Not all these projects will materialize. Some will prove non-commercial to develop. Others will be nominated as tiebacks or joint developments. But all are confirmed discoveries where location, water depth, field characteristics, distance from shore, field operator preference, etc. tag them as obvious candidates for a floating production system.
Added deepwater rig capability driving new floating production starts – According to Jim McCaul, head of IMA, “shortage of deepwater drill equipment has been a major bottleneck limiting deepwater development. This constraint is being removed. The inventory of available deepwater rigs has grown significantly over the past 12 months – and the 52 drillships and 17 drill semis now on order will add 18% to deepwater drill capability over the next two years.”
McCaul adds “deepwater rig activity is an excellent predictor of future demand in the floating production sector. There is a direct lagged relationship between the number of active deepwater rigs in service and number of floating production project starts two to three years out. More rigs will generate more finds – accelerating future floating production system requirements.”

(As published in the September 2012 edition of Maritime Reporter -

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