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Regional offshore drilling rig movements from 2020 through to 2024, split by jackups, semisubmersibles and drillships, with data provided by RigLogix.

Jackup Regional Changes 2020-2024

Between 2020 and 2023, the Middle East was one of only two regions in the world to witness an increase in jackup supply. During the period, the area saw 48 rigs moved in from other areas of the world to help fulfil national oil companies’ thirsts to ramp up reserves and production.

Saudi Aramco has been the biggest driving force behind this, increasing its jackup provisions by 30 units in just three years. The operator’s mass contracting of these rigs has led to global utilisation skyrocketing as well as average leading-edge dayrates, which recorded a 40% increase between 2020 and 2024.

Asia is the only other area to have recorded an increase in supply but only from 2023 to the end of 2024, where supply will grow by at least 12 rigs coming in from Africa and the North Sea. During the same period, similarly to the semisub market, North Sea jackup supply witnessed a mass exodus, reducing by nine rigs in the period due to more favourable opportunities in other areas such as Mexico, West Africa, Australia and the Middle East.

Semisub Regional Changes 2020-2024

The starkest regional trend witnessed in the semisub market since 2020 has been the exodus of units from the sluggish North Sea (and wider Northwest European) market to other areas offering up longer-duration campaigns and higher dayrates.

Between 2020 and the end of this year, there will have been a 23% reduction in the marketed supply of these units in the North Sea. The main areas attracting these harsh-environment rigs are Africa, Australia and Asia. Meanwhile, over the same period there was also a 22% decrease in supply in Asia but a 100% and 150% increase in Australia and Africa, respectively.

Drillship Regional Changes 2020-2024

The biggest change in regional distribution of drillships over the past five years has been the growth in South American supply, majorly driven by Brazilian national oil company Petrobras. The operator has increased its fleet by 13 rigs, or 62%, in this short period soaking up capacity from areas such as North America, Africa and Asia to cover the operator’s ambitious drilling plans.

The Asian market saw the exit of three rigs between 2020 and 2021, reaching a trough of just eight units but is anticipated to grow to up to 14 rigs by the end of this year, following rigs entering from Africa as well as newbuilds due for delivery from the Far East.

Teresa Wilkie, Director – RigLogix
[email protected]