Firmer oil prices and improving sentiment have been catalysts for several key strategic moves in recent days, as offshore contractors align themselves to make the most of the imminent upturn.

The business of offshore drilling and exploration, a close cousin of shipping, continues to generate business combinations, also known as “consolidation”, against the backdrop of worldwide economic strength and oil prices remaining in their sweet spot between $60 per barrel and $80 per barrel.

Singapore shipyard owner Keppel Corp says it seeing pockets of opportunity in offshore but sustained recovery will take time.

Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service are targeting the decommissioning market with a new joint venture.

New kid on the block Borr Drilling is continuing to consolidate the jack-up rig sector acquiring Paragon Offshore and its fleet of 32 rigs.

Foresight Group chairman Dr Ravi Mehrotra’s annual Winter BBQ proved more popular than ever, attracting 550 shipping folk to the marquee erected in the back garden of his home in leafy southwest London.

Sembcorp Marine (Sembmarine) is selling nine jack-up rig newbuilds, including six from cancelled contracts, to Borr Drilling for $1.3bn.

Exploration and production (E&P) spending by the world’s largest energy firm, Saudi Aramco, increased five-fold between January 2016 and August 2017, according to experts.

The daily grind of fighting for survival in a seriously oversupplied offshore workboat market was clearly evident amongst operators and service providers exhibiting on the floor of Seatrade Offshore Marine & Workboat Middle East, held in Abu Dhabi this week. But for those lucky enough to spend some time in the conference and seminar sessions, there was plenty of positive sentiment.

Sapura Energy, continued to struggle with revenue for its FY18 second quarter ending July 31 slightly lower at MYR1.66bn ($393.1m) from MYR1.68bn in the previous corresponding quarter due to the lower contributions from its Drilling and Exploration and Production (E&P) business segments.

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