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    Large AHTS market in North Sea 'volatile'

    News // March 12, 2008

    Broker Braemar Seascope Offshore says the volatility of the large AHTS sector in the North Sea was clearly illustrated during February, making it almost impossible to budget for the cost of rig moves with any degree of certainty.

    "At one point during the month, high specification units were being routinely chartered at less than 20,000 but in response to a number of short term factors (weather/high coincidence of rig moves) these same vessels were able to achieve highs of 140,000 a week or so later," said the broker in its most recent report on the market.

    "This extreme volatility is likely to be a feature of the large AHTS sector through 2008 given that the pool of units is relatively small," said Braemar Seascope.

    By comparison the PSV market has been more predictable with rate levels for modern medium/large PSVs generally
    being in the 10,000-15,000 range with older/smaller vessels being routinely fixed significantly below these levels.

    "However," said the report, "the weaker market conditions on the PSV spot market are not generally being reflected in the rate levels that vessel owners are proposing for medium term work, presumably because the perception is that the market will strengthen over the coming months."

    A significant improvement is difficult to forecast, however, as more speculative PSV newbuildings enter the fleet coupled with a reduced rig fleet in the medium term.

    "If the PSV spot market remains at its current level over the next few months it will be interesting to note if some owners soften their rate expectations for medium term work and pursue these requirements more aggressively," said the broker.


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