North American offshore rig market stable at a lower rate ///

Since the arrival of the new century, the offshore rig market has become ever more global in nature. The decline of the US Gulf rig market and the rise of others have resulted in a significant shifting of assets as rig owners seek to capitalize on strong rig demand in international markets. For example, while the contracted rig count in the US GOM has declined to 102 rigs in June 2008 from 148 rigs in January 2000, the contracted rig count in Mexico has risen to 38 (down from a peak of 43 in March of 2004) from six rigs; in the Middle East, the count has risen to 96 from 46 rigs and in Southeast Asia to 59 from 23 rigs, Table 1. As the table indicates, the US Gulf is barely hanging on to its distinction as the world’s largest offshore rig market. That crown may be handed to the Middle East in the near future.

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