The tight market for deepwater rigs in the Gulf of Mexico has undoubtedly contributed to the slow start to exploration in 2007. Will a surge of new-build rigs, expected to enter the market between now and 2010, allow companies to increase their exploration efforts or will development commitments eat up most of the rig time?
This presentation reviews exploration activity in the first half of 2007 and compares it to previous years. It also looks at which operators have contracted rigs to drill in the region and analyzes each operator’s likely available rig time for exploration given its various development commitments and appraisal plans. We look at the results of Lease Sales 204 and 205 to comment on the most attractive areas and active players. Lastly, we consider the drivers behind rig rate changes and analyze the impact on field economics.