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Cautious optimism as offshore markets show positive signs: Clarkson

Photo: Marcus Hand osvs_singapore.jpg
Offshore markets may finally be turning a corner, according to Clarkson’s weekly update.

Following most of shipping’s sectors’ sharp recovery over the first quarter of this year, the offshore business has lagged behind but is now also showing positive signs, Clarkson Research Services said in its latest weekly report.

The positive signals were badly needed. “With the exception of the fast-growing offshore wind sector, 2020 was a year to forget for the offshore markets and sentiment heading into 2021 was generally weak,” the analysts said. Meanwhile, seaborne trade, in contrast, had already started to show positive growth over the last few months of 2020.  

Offshore support vessel (OSV) demand has risen by 12% since last November and rig demand has picked up by 3% since March. However, these figures come from a low base, well below January 2020 opening levels.

“Demand in the key offshore markets turned rapidly negative, falling nearly 15% across 1H 2020 as oil companies cut spending and curtailed charters,” the analysts said. This is more than twice the 7% decline in Clarkson’s global seaborne trade ‘basket’.   

Positives include OPEC+ “oil supply discipline”, Clarkson said, “and recovering oil demand on the back of vaccine roll-outs [that] boosted the oil price to above $60 a barrel by February.” The researchers noted that floating rig demand, in particular, had picked up considerably, notably off Brazil and Asia.

Asia OSV deployment is up 15% since the third quarter of 2020, and North Sea OSV markets have shown tightness as the summer peak season approaches, the company noted.

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