Exxon, other majors boost demand for FPSOs as deepwater drilling takes off – Rystad Energy

The Liza Unity FPSO is currently under construction in Singapore for ExxonMobil's Liza Phase 2 Development project offshore Guyana.

Demand from the world’s top oil companies for floating drilling units has climbed steadily in the past two years and is set to rise further through 2020 and 2021.

Norway-based Rystad Energy said this trend is a result of the majors stepping up development and exploration activity in deepwater basins.

“Floater demand surged from around 50 contract years in 2010 to peak at about 80 in 2014, before the oil-price slump caused operators to scale back floater contract commitments to less than 35 contract years in 2017,” Rystad Energy said.

Since then, majors ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Total and Eni have steadily increased deepwater contracting activity, having added almost 10 contract years since 2017.

Rystad Energy said it expects demand to grow further towards 2022.

Dutch floater specialist SBM Offshore delivered the first FPSO to Guyana in August 2019 for the Liza Phase 1 Development at the ExxonMobil operated Stabroek Block. The hull for a second vessel – the Liza Unity – recently arrived in Singapore for topsides installation. The Liza Unity will be the first floater to be built under SBM Offshore’s Fast4Ward® program. The company has also been awarded a FEED contract for a third vessel – the Prosperity – to be used in the Payara development offshore Guyana, pending government approvals.

ExxonMobil expects to be operating around 5 FPSOs offshore Guyana by 2025, producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day.