As oil prices continue their steady march upward, there is yet to be a meaningful increase in floating rig activity in the US Gulf of Mexico. Some may see this as a negative sign for offshore activity, but I disagree. It was widely believed that once oil eclipsed the mid-$60 threshold for a sustained period, the floating rig count would increase. Oil prices have only been sustained above the $65 barrel level since May of this year; a mere 5 months.
Given the focus on renewable energy sources and the generally negative sentiment around oil and gas, it should not be surprising to anyone that the uptick in offshore oil and gas drilling has not yet taken place. However, there are already signs that an increase in the deepwater US GOM rig count is in the not-too-distant future. As of writing this, oil prices are holding well above the mid-$60 range ($80 per barrel right now) which remains the catalyst for increased drilling. We know of a few confirmed rig arrivals/activations in the region and are hearing of additional drilling plans in the near future.
The addition of a new vessel, STORM, on October 19th is a major milestone for JOO and I believe our industry is right on the threshold of the recovery for which we have all been awaiting.