Despite seemingly best efforts by world leaders, it appears that the wild gyrations ,which are the hallmark of the oil industry
, will never truly be tamed. For proof, simply check out the Offshore Market report on page 32, which touts the “lingering $30+” barrel of oil. Between the writing of that piece and this one (about a week), OPEC leaders had met, decided to boost production seven percent and sent oil prices
screaming down below the $25 level. While an immediate $5 per barrel price would normally spread doom throughout the GOM region and all of the various maritime industries which support it — it seems that confidence regarding a second-half 2000 bounceback is still intact. OPEC’s recent actions were driven more by politics than anything else, as U.S. leaders implored them to boost production to ease consumer pricing and alleviate summer shortage fears. Suppliers, largely, have yet to see the traditional inquiries that would definitively mark the comeback, but enough positive signs abound — such as increased hiring at offshore service companies, steadily rising rig counts and hot stock valuations for many of the leading companies — to indicate the next boom is coming.
While many of the yards in the GOM area are eagerly awaiting the return of the offshore and related business, Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula is quietly becoming the cruise capitol in the U.S. The company, which already has the United States Line fleet on its orderbook, announced a MOA signed with SeaAmerica Cruise Lines of Hollywood, Fla. to build a pair of 42,000-dwt, 1,000-passenger cruise ships, pending MarAd Title XI funding. Legal Beat columnists from Dyer Ellis & Joseph give MR/EN readers a Title XI update, including activity in the soaring ferry market, starting on page 14.