This time of year not only means the holidays are here but also the International Work Boat Show (WBS) that’s held annually in New Orleans. Based on the size of the crowds, this year’s conference was easily the most attended show post-COVID. This doesn’t surprise me given the resurgence in the offshore oil and gas industry and the emergence of offshore renewables and the demand for vessels to support those markets.
What I found most interesting was the amount of specialized programs and presentations about vessel design, construction, operations, and efficiency—particular targeted at the offshore renewables industry. While it is growing and soon to be a viable marine market, it is not going to be as significant of a market as the oil and gas any time soon. However, the amount of focus at the WBS on the renewable service market seemed to far outweigh the focus on oil and gas. Admittedly, new oil and gas offshore support vessels are not likely to be built in meaningful numbers for many more years, which is why there is more emphasis on renewables.
There will be many improvements made to insure existing OSVs remain in service for their entire service life, while also increasing efficiency objectives through improvements in technology. While there is focus here, it’s not enough considering the continued demand for oil and gas OSVs and the limited ability of the industry to support new vessel builds.
These observations only reinforce my beliefs that there will be a continued long-term, upward trend in the oil and gas OSV industry. As always, I caution that this is a fickle industry and any number of exogenous factors can derail it. We must continue to be vigilant in preparing for the next downturn as we capitalize on the good times.