* Acergy CEO sees Gulf rebound in 6 months to a year
* Says size and technology key to deepwater success
* Merger with Subsea 7 on track for Q4/Q1 completion
(Writes through, recasts with CEO comments)
By Gwladys Fouche
OSLO, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The head of offshore contractor Acergy ACY.OL said large deepwater players with advanced technology will thrive as market turbulence begins to subside from the blowout of BP’s (BP.L) Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The company with the best assets, especially with technology, will succeed,” Chief Executive Jean Cahuzac said at an oil seminar on Wednesday.
He said he expected project delays of six to 12 months in the Gulf of Mexico, after which activity there will pick up rapidly.
“There will be a catch-up,” he said, predicting business would be “even stronger than before.”
He said Acergy’s planned merger with fellow offshore engineering and construction specialist Subsea 7 SUB.OL would give it the size and technology to see off competitors in the post-Macondo business environment.
“We can handle projects more efficiently,” he said of the merged company with its “high-end, diversified fleet” of 42 service vessels.
He said he expected the merger to be complete by the end of 2010 or early 2011, bringing synergies of at least $100 million a year.
In an interview, he added: “Consolidation is very good for the industry because we need stronger, more reliable companies to serve the oil companies at lower cost.”
He said deepwater reserves remained a “significant and growing” part of the oil industry’s future and added Acergy was positioning itself for an increased order backlog with solid margins.
“The short-term fundamentals of the market are very strong,” he said. “We continue to see strong tendering activity worldwide.”
He made a qualified exception for the North Sea, where margins have come under pressure on short-term projects, as in the Gulf.
Asked which global areas were most promising, he noted there were “dozens of projects, in Africa, Australia, in Brazil,” adding: “We definitely see momentum on the large projects and we expect more large projects to be awarded before the end of the year or the beginning of 2011. The future will tell who will win them.” (Editing by David Holmes)