Over the past four months we have been flooded by news of just how badly the offshore rig market has been hit during the double whammy of the Corona pandemic and oil price fallout. We witnessed what seemed like a never-ending wave of contract cancellations coupled with increasing numbers of contract options being declined, along with suspended drilling operations and a surge in deferrals to campaign start-ups. In addition, award activity has almost dried up, resulting in drilling contractor backlog quickly withering away.
Cancellations and suspensions have come from a mix of companies from small independents to supermajors, and almost all regions have been impacted in some form. However, as can be seen from Figure 1, there are currently several areas standing out as having higher levels of activity despite these challenges. These regions, which include the Middle East, Far East, India, Mexico, and Latin America, all have one common denominator – a prevalence of national oil companies (NOCs).