Respondents to a survey from Esgian Rig Services believe that Brent crude prices will continue to rise, and that optimism is returning to the offshore drilling sector.

38 percent of survey respondents believe that oil will hit USD100 per barrel this year. 26 percent think it could reach as high as USD120. Optimism in the offshore rig market appears to have returned, with 65 percent of voters feeling more optimistic for the future of the industry, compared to 17 percent who are less optimistic or 18 percent that are equally optimistic.  

Mirroring the optimism for the market overall, most voters (84 percent) believe that rig values will increase this year. It is also quite clear that most voters feel confident in the future of the ultra-deepwater drillship market, with 48 percent believing that dayrates will reach USD400,000 or higher this year, which is a figure that has not been seen since around 2014.  

In terms of promising regions, respondents were most confident in the US Gulf of Mexico for the year ahead. The region topped the poll with 34 percent, followed second by South America at 29 percent, the Middle East came in third with 26 percent and the North Sea came last with just 10 percent of the vote. 

Owners have increasingly been upgrading rigs with fuel and emission-reducing systems over the past few years. According to the poll, most participants (with 43 percent) believe that this is mostly because of operator requirements, followed by 29 percent who believe it is to stay ahead of the competition, while just 17 percent believe they are being installed to help the environment. 

Even though many are still wary on the longer-term outlook for the offshore drilling rig market due to the energy transition and threat of peak oil demand, the key takeaway point from this survey is that following a trying few years, confidence in the near-term market is back. Commodity prices and dayrates are rising, rig owner consolidation has finally started and it seems the market is awaiting news of further transactions to come. All of which bodes well for logisticians supporting this sector.