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    Broker describes recent North Sea AHTS market as "a test of nerves"

    News // August 23, 2005

    Ship broker Offshore Shipbrokers Ltd (OSL) says the spot market in July was, once again, "a test of AHTS owners’ nerves" with rates fluctuating dramatically from the £8,500 level rising to circa £35,000.

    "PSV rates were however more stable in the £10,000-£20,000 range with owners achieving generally good utilisation throughout the month. With only a handful of PSVs actually having availability on the spot market during July, this meant that AHTS were performing a large number of the cargo runs concluded during the month," noted OSL in its latest monthly report, which was published last week. "This was in fact the main cause of the fluctuations in PSV rates as owners often found themselves competing with a large number of idle AHTS keen for the utilisation," the company noted.

    OSL said July in general got off to a good start with both AHTS and PSVs fetching around the £20,000 level, but by the middle of the month things had slackened slightly with cargo rates at around the £10,000–£12,000 level, and rig moves fetching around £15,000.

    The market then picked up during the third week of the month due to a number of coinciding rig moves and an upturn in cargo run activity, which caused rates to rise once again.

    This was short lived however and by the end of the month rates were again in the £12,000-£15,000 level for both PSV’s and AHTS.

    OSL said this healthy demand for PSVs was further demonstrated by the recent term fixtures of newbuilds UP Esmeralda and Portosalvo virtually as soon as they became available.

    The VS4408 PSV UP Esmeralda arrived in the North Sea mid-July and was quickly fixed to BG Group for a period of three weeks for floating storage duties. On completion of this work she then commenced charter with Total E&P to support the GSF Galaxy 1 for a period of circa 4 months.

    "A similar situation was seen with the UT755L PSV Portosalvo," noted OSL, "which
    delivered in Flekkefjord Yard at the end of July straight into a term charter with Nexen Petroleum for a period of circa 18 months."

    Further term fixtures reported during July include the award by Shell of their two year AHTS tender to the Far Sky after Farstad were the successful bidder in Shells online 'E-bid' auction.

    Maersk Oile Og Gas has also awarded a one year plus one year option PSV requirement for support of the Rowan Gorilla VII to the newbuild VS470 Mk II Havila Eternity, which will be frontrun by Havila Fortress.

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