Floating rig is one of the most important segments of oil field production chain as it provides services and equipments to oil explorers, producers and transportation of crude oil and natural gas. Rigs are huge structures that are used in the process of extraction of crude oil from oil wellbore. Either floating or bottom supported rigs are required for drilling of oil wells offshore. Global market for floating rig is tough with high capacity utilization and high day rates. As the oil prices deviated from natural gas prices, engineering and procurement companies have altered their drilling projects to target oil, rising demand of floating rigs and building a backup for the universal drilling players. According to Rigzone till 28 March 2013 600 rigs were drilling offshore representing a capacity utilization of 84.7 %.
The global increase in offshore expenditure, dynamic oil prices and ultra deep water exploration & production of crude oil and natural gas are the major drivers for the floating rigs market. High capital investments and time associated with manufacturing of rigs are the major constraints of the floating rigs market. Complex deep water developments and ever increasing demand for oil and gas brings new opportunities for the investors to invest in the floating rigs market.
The market for the floating rigs is segmented on the basis of technology and depth of drilling. Compliant tower platforms consist of flexible and narrow towers and a stack foundation supporting the deck for drilling and other operations. This type of rig is used in at a depth ranging from 400-900 meters. Semi submersible rigs have legs of adequate buoyancy to support the structure to float. Semi submersible rigs can move from one place to another and can be raised or lowered by altering the volume of buoyancy tanks. The drilling depths for these rigs are 200-1800 meters. Jack up platforms can be jacked up above the sea level. These types of rigs are usually used in low depths and can be moved from one place to another and can anchor themselves by their jack legs. Floating production rigs are large rigs equipped with various processing facilities and can do drilling in a particular location for a longer period of time. Main types of floating production systems are FSU (floating storage unit), FPSO (floating production storage and offloading system) and FSO (floating storage and offloading system). Tension leg platform rigs are used for drilling in water depth ranging up to 1500 meters and are tied to the sea bed in a manner to eliminate vertical movement of the rig.
The central and western Gulf of Mexico including Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi are major offshore producing areas in the United States. According to BAKER HUGHES in Asia Pacific region 119 offshore rigs are installed presently, 36 in the Indian zone followed by 22 in China. In Europe region 53 offshore rigs are extracting crude oil from the sea beds. In the Middle East region 46 rigs are installed and among them 16 in Saudi Arabia. In Latin America 66 rigs are installed currently, 29 in Mexico and 27 in Brazil. For new investors Asia Pacific and Latin America region are expected to emerge as new developing markets for the floating rigs.
Some of the key players in the floating rigs market are Transocean Limited, Noble Corporation, RIGZONE, Hyundai Heavy Industries Corporation Ltd., Technip S.A and Keppel Offshore & Marine among others.
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