Despite the depressed offshore and marine market with currently low oil prices, the market for liftboats remains healthy in Southeast Asia, according to one Singapore-based analyst.
CIMB Securities analyst Yeo Zhi Bin said in a recent report that there were about 10 liftboats servicing 1,717 oil platforms in the ASEAN region, compared with 240 liftboats servicing 3,257 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Companies such as Technics Oil and Gas, Falcon Energy, Swissco Holdings, and Ezion, all Singapore-based, have scented business opportunities and were diversifying into liftboats, said Yeo.
Also known as jackup barges, liftboats are self-propelled, self-elevating vessels that transport equipment and supplies to drilling rigs and drillships.
Ezion is one of the first companies to introduce the liftboat concept in Southeast Asia and now owns one of the region’s largest liftboat fleets. With its experience in liftboats, Swissco’s management team has ordered its first newbuilding in September 2014 from Triyards, with an option for another.
Technics Oil & Gas became the latest company to enter the liftboat market in area when it secured a USD50 million contract to construct a liftboat, with the option for another unit (exercisable within six months).
Yeo said, “We view the contract win positively, inferring that the liftboat concept that was first conceived in the Gulf of Mexico is gaining traction in the underpenetrated ASEAN market.”
Compared with a drilling jackup rig, a liftboat is subjected to a high level of jacking activities (and at higher speeds). It is therefore important for the jacking system to be robust.
Yeo said, “We are of view that the flourishing liftboat demand in ASEAN will be able to cope with more players. Certainly, Ezion would not be able to cater to all the ASEAN liftboat requirements on its own.”