Study sees continued deepwater expenditure growth

Despite lower expected expenditures during 2009 and 2010 relative to 2008, a study forecasts that the petroleum industry's deepwater expenditures will trend upward and reach $35 billion by 2013.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Feb. 5 -- Despite lower expected expenditures during 2009 and 2010 relative to 2008, a study forecasts that the petroleum industry's deepwater expenditures will trend upward and reach $35 billion by 2013.

In addition, the Douglas-Westwood study, The World Deepwater Market Report 2009-13, expects deepwater project expenditures to total $162 billion in the 2009-13 period.

Most of the study's foreseen expenditures relate to pipelines, drilling and completion of development wells, and platforms. It breaks down the spending during the period analyzed as:

-- $57.7 billion for satellite fields and deepwater hubs as companies develop reserves further from the coast.

-- $53.8 billion for drilling and completing subsea development wells.

-- $38.2 billion for 86 deepwater floating production platforms.

Its breakdown for four regions is $60 billion off Africa, $29.3 billion off North America (mostly in the US Gulf of Mexico), $29 billion off Latin America (mostly off Brazil), and $14.6 billion off Asia.

Steve Robertson, Douglas-Westwood's oil and gas manager, expects major oil companies and well-placed national oil companies (NOCs) to make the bulk of the deepwater expenditures because the economic downturn and turmoil in the debt markets is less likely to affect these companies than smaller companies. He adds that companies may delay some projects that rely on external project finance.

Robertson says most deepwater operators surveyed indicate that they are planning against conservative assumptions and expect oil prices to recover to $50-70/bbl in the medium term.

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