Gulf of Mexico waits for a turnaround ///

A year ago, nearly everyone working in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM) – from drilling contractors to supply vessel operators servicing the rigs and other service companies – was optimistic that 2001 would become the boom year they were waiting and hoping for. After all, natural gas prices were on their way to nearly $10/Mcf, and oil was approaching $30/bbl. Independent and major operators were drilling like there was no tomorrow. Offshore rig dayrates were high and getting higher. That is, until the beginning of summer. Development activity was strong in 2001, particularly as regards the number of subsea completions, which was nearly double the number of subsea completions in 2000. The number of subsea wells is forecast to be even higher this year, as well as in 2003. As many as four deepwater floating production systems are scheduled for installation during 2002. Additionally, up to 41 subsea completions could be installed in the U.S. Gulf, and possibly more.

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