The global offshore accommodation market has seen significant growth over the past five years, with PoB requirements increasing by 27% between 2009 and 2014. Although the recent oil price decline has negatively impacted the accommodation market to some extent, the affect thus far has been largely limited to demand for units supporting Capex-related activities.
However, Capex support is proportionally smaller in terms of total accommodation demand; of greater significance are the Opex markets, which will account for 69% of PoB requirements in 2015. Accommodation units are utilised to reduce downtime during periods of essential maintenance. In the current oil price environment, sustaining production levels is key; moreover, reducing downtime from vital maintenance programs will be essential. DW analysis suggests growth within the accommodation market for units supporting Opex activities will be sustained, with at 3% CAGR forecast to 2020.
With Operators asking how they can increase worker efficiency, improving the level of crew welfare is a priority, particularly for IOCs. As the focus on welfare grows in prominence, newbuild accommodation units are being built with high levels of crew comfort in mind. Of particular focus is the maximum number of workers per cabin. The UK HSE is a driving force in this regards; the “Double Occupancy” standard limits cabins in accommodation units serving the UKCS assets to a maximum occupancy of two workers per room. Units sleeping four or more workers within the same room are becoming less desirable outside of price sensitive regions such as West Africa or the Middle East. Interestingly, the provision of WiFi and quality food are key criteria cited by Operators in an attempt to please their workforce.
With the current oil price environment, the question is whether welfare will be sacrificed in favour of accommodation units with lower day rates. Potentially there is a trade off with regards to increasing worker efficiency through the provision of a comfortable offshore living space versus the need to reduce costs. The choice is likely to depend on the type of Operator, their preferences and regional regulations.
Kathryn Symes, Douglas-Westwood London
Adapted from a press release by David Bizley