OSLO Feb 28 The current slowdown in offshore
oil and gas drilling will last 12 to 18 months, and the market
for rigs will rebound in 2015, Maersk Drilling said, providing a
more optimistic forecast than other drilling firms.
Oil companies are only delaying projects, Claus Hemmingsen,
the chief executive of Maersk Drilling, a unit of Danish
shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk, told
Reuters on Friday.
"I would rather call it a short-term softness than anything
dramatic," Hemmingsen said in a telephone interview. "We see
postponements, not cancellations, and I think that distinction
Activity in the deep waters off West Africa and Brazil will
suffer the most, he said. "There's two regions when you talk
about deep water that stand out - that is West Africa and
Other drilling companies have warned that the market could
be slow for the next two years as oil majors delay projects and
cut capital expenditure to save cash for dividends, while
drilling companies add new vessels, creating overcapacity.
Analysts expect oil and gas capital spending to rise by 4-6
percent this year, a big drop from years of double-digit growth
as the biggest offshore drillers such as Shell, Chevron
and Statoil cut their budgets the most.
Transocean, which owns the world's biggest drilling
fleet, predicted on Thursday it would take 18 to 24 months for
demand to recover.
Seadrill, the world's biggest offshore driller by
market capitalisation, warned this week that the sector would
slow over the next two years.
But Hemmingsen foresaw that the dip in the market would last
for 12 to 18 months.
"I actually think it's (going to be) shorter, because I see
some activity and interest," he said.
"We'll see the market returning to a strong balance of
supply and demand," Hemmingsen said. "These projects that are
being postponed will come back. In 2015 and beyond, we'll see
the market continuously on the strong side."
Hemmingsen said Maersk, which take delivery of six new rigs
this year, will need several more units to meet its 2018 target
for a $1 billion net profit but that no newbuild orders were