Broker describes record-breaking month in North SeaNews // September 15, 2006
Broker Offshore Shipbrokers Ltd (OSL) says the spot market in the North Sea in August "was undoubtedly the highlight of an already good year for vessel owners with AHTS rates breaking all previous records and the average monthly rate for AHTS fixtures in excess of £75,000."
In its latest monthly report on the market, issued September 17th, OSL said the new record rate level of £110,000 seen during August was not a 'one off' either, and was reached on a number of occasions during the middle of the month when availability
was at its tightest.
"The beginning of the month saw a healthy start with AHTS rates at around the £60,000 level, within a few days however, the market had tightened once again with rates quickly reaching £85,000. By the middle of the month availability was at its tightest with charterers fighting for vessels and owners being able to pick and choose their jobs whilst demanding day rates of up to £110,000," said OSL.
A number of fixtures were in fact concluded at these levels but by the third week or August availability had slackened off slightly and rates had returned to the £80,000 level. The end of the month saw rates drop back further to around the £60,000 level seen at the beginning of the month however this was short lived and by early September rates were rising once again. The August rate record didn’t last long and was in fact broken during the first week of September by the fixture of the Balder Viking to Norsk Hydro at £115,000.
OSL said PSV owners saw a far more stable month with rates generally remaining between £30,000-£40,000 per day, however peaking at £48,000 on a couple of occasions.
Utilisation for owners was excellent with PSV availability remaining extremely limited throughout the month and vessels virtually being fixed as soon as they came free.
This was in fact the case with the Siem Offshore newbuild VS470 MkII Louisa which was due to commence work with Saipem on delivery from yard. The vessel was in fact cancelled from Saipem prior to onhire but within a couple of hours had been fixed to BP Norway to undertake supply duties, all this before the vessel had even been delivered.
"Looking ahead for the remainder of September we expect to see a slight improvement in PSV availability as a number of vessels are expected to return to the spot market during the latter part of the month. There have, however, been fresh term PSV requirements coming to the market and given the number of vessels fixed onward from early October we expect things to tighten once again. October has also traditionally been one of the worst months for weather delays, and given that there will only be a handful of spot vessels for charterers to turn to, we expect to see this causing a few headaches offshore," OSL concluded.