Gulf Marine Services said a healthy order book provided cause for optimism in the self-propelled self-elevating support vessels (SESVs) serving the offshore oil, gas and renewable energy sectors.
Gulf, which published its latest trading update today, said it had achieved 98% fleet utilisation between July and November 1 with charter rates holding steady.
The current secured backlog of $615.9million, consisting firm contracts and options held by clients, is higher than for the same period last year – $547 million – providing good visibility on future earnings.
One of the company’s large class SESVs has been contracted for a decommissioning project in the North Sea, a new activity for Gulf and with a firm charter period through to mid-2016 and an option for a further 13 months extension.
Gulf’s new build programme, which will increase the fleet from nine to 15 SESVs during the period 2014 to 2016, is progressing well, it said.
Growth in earnings in the second half of 2015 has been significantly higher than in the first half of the year due to the reduction of planned special projects, together with the benefits of the new vessels added to the fleet.
Underlying trading in 2015 is broadly in line with market expectations. However, the weakness of sterling and the euro compared to the US dollar is expected to have a negative impact of approximately $8 million for the year.
Chief executive Duncan Anderson, said:”While the rapid decline in the oil price is significantly affecting the oil and gas sector, we have been afforded some protection from this as the majority of our business is opex-related brownfield work and most of our fleet is operational in the low cost Middle East region.”