IMCA has updated the US Gulf of Mexico vessel data associated with its authoritative study ‘Marine Construction Vessel Impacts of Proposed Modifications and Revocations of Jones Act Letters Related to Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Activities” submitted to the US Customs and Border Protection agency in early April of last year. This supplement is part of a tracking exercise and focuses on the US GoM vessels of interest to IMCA’s members, and can be found at www.imca-int.com/jonesact and below.
At the lighter end of the market, several new Coastwise Qualified light construction vessels (LCVs) have entered the market and largely displaced the foreign tonnage. These vessels are quite versatile and can easily interchange between transportation and light construction. This market adjustment is perfectly normal and poses no threat to future investment and development potential of the US GoM.
At the heavier end of the market (Deepwater Pipelaying, Heavy Lifting, and Well Intervention) the picture is unchanged from last year, except for the naturally lower level of seasonal activity. There are no Coastwise qualified vessels in the deepwater pipelaying or heavy lifting markets and only one in the well intervention market. The foreign flagged specialist vessels are not engaged in transportation activities and fill the high-end gap where the coastwise fleet is absent.
Our conclusions in April 2017 are unchanged and our update fully supports the argument that the specialist class of deepwater construction vessels are pivotal to the future investment and development of the US Gulf of Mexico. The real threat remains that development would simply not be possible by using the lightweight LCV fleet, which is in a commodity market and unable to conduct specialist heavy construction work. Furthermore, it takes experienced marine contractors, rather than marine service companies, to build the offshore production infrastructure.