Oil Rigs Left Idling Turn Caribbean Into Expensive Parking Lot

23-Jul-2015

Imagine parking your $300 million boat for months out in the open sea, with well-paid mechanics hovering around it and the engine running.

The Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea have become a garage for deepwater drillships -- at a cost of about $70,000 a day each. It’s either that or send your precious rig to a scrapyard.

The dilemma underscores how an offshore industry that geared up for an oil boom is grappling with a bust. Rig owners are putting equipment aside at unprecedented numbers as customers including ConocoPhillips pull back from higher-cost deepwater exploration. That’s helped make Transocean Ltd. and Ensco Plc two of the three worst performers in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index over the past year.

“Most contractors have never seen an environment like this, where demand is falling as quickly as it is,” David Smith, an analyst at Heikkinen Energy Advisors in Houston, said in a phone interview. “It’s been a big headache, and the problem is that we’re not halfway through.” (by David Wethe, Bloomberg Business)