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The offshore market is slowly emerging from its prolonged downturn. Higher oil prices and greater cost–ef ciency in offshore projects are driving growth.
In its  rst worldwide mobile rig forecast, IHS Markit expects global offshore rig demand will average 521 units in 2020, some 15% higher than the average of 453 units in 2018. “Broadly speaking, much of this increase in global demand can be attributed to the price of oil being sustained at a higher level than when the downturn was in full swing,” said Justin Smith, offshore rig analyst at IHS Markit and an author of the rig forecast. “In addition, costs associated with the offshore industry have been slashed in recent years. This has led operators to reconsider exploration, appraisal, and development programmes that were not economically viable while the market was bottoming-out.”
The increase will primarily be driven by  oating rigs, speci cally semi-submersibles and drillships, as operators step up activity in deepwater areas around the globe.
First Rig Order Since 2014
The improving market is cause for cheer. Keppel O&M secured a US$425-million contract from Awilcoin March 2018 for the construction of a mid-water, harsh-environment semi-submersible drilling rig, Singapore’s  rst rig order since 2014. Scheduled for completion in early 2021, the semi-sub will be built to Moss Maritime’s CS60 ECO MW, specially designed, con gured and out tted for mid-water operations of up to depths of 1,500 metres.
As part of the transaction, Awilco has independent options to order up to another three similar rigs to be exercised within 12, 24 and 36 months respectively. The prices of the three additional rigs are subject to cost adjustments and will only be  nalised and announced if and when the options are exercised.

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