Just as the oil and gas industry was starting to get back on its feet, COVID-19 and plummeting oil prices have affected the market across the board, including well intervention. But players in this space are optimistic, with new vessels and more compact intervention systems being planned and hopes that production enhancement will be an easy win for operators post-COVID.
The light well intervention (LWI) segment – from vessels, rather than rigs – struggled in the downturn, says Catherine MacFarlane, subsea analyst, Energy, at IHS Markit. The only long-term contracts are with Petrobras and Equinor, which means the market is reliant on seasonal shorter-term work and tends to be among the first to be affected in terms of rates and utilization. Yet, prior to COVID-19, 2020 was showing some very modest rate increases and a stabilizing market, she says.