Newbuild report: A flurry of new rig orders worldwide shows faith in a strong market for several years to come ///

According ODS-Petrodata estimates (Table 1), there are about 40 new semisubmersibles or drillships under construction, slated to come to market through 2010, plus 60 new jackups to be delivered over the next three years. As noted by Thomas Marsh, ODS-Petrodata (see sidebar on page R-77), this is the sixth rig-construction cycle experienced by the offshore oil and gas industry since its inception in 1949. According to FBR’s Offshore Drillers Update, continuing shortage of deepwater rigs has forced operators to deal with the dilemma of either paying to lock up a rig or taking their chances that rigs will be available when needed. Fourth- and fifth-generation rig demand is predicted to exceed supply through 2007, and mid-water rigs are not far behind. Rigs are moving to new locations as contracts are renegotiated. The GOM jackup market has gone from 143 jackups in 2001 to 100 today, stated Danny McNease, President and CEO of the Rowan Companies at a recent Lehman Brothers CEO Energy Conference.

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